Important changes to West Mercia Police Federation Discretionary Health Scheme

To all members of the West Mercia Police Federation Discretionary Health Scheme.

IMPORTANT CHANGES

Following advice from accountants, solicitors, investment consultants and HMRC, the Trustees have decided to change the governance of the scheme. The scheme was set up as a Trust and the advice received is that this is no longer the best way forward.  It has been agreed to change the trust to a company limited by guarantee with a board of Directors. The Chief Constable has agreed to this change.

WHY?

The original trust was set up as a settlor-interested discretionary trust with a defined accumulation period.  During that period funds could be accumulated and interest received on money held could be retained.  When the accumulation period ends any interest received after that date must be returned to the members in appropriate amounts.  Since the end of the accumulation period (January 2012) banks have not been paying interest on money held.

YOU NEED TAKE NO ACTION WITH REGARD TO YOUR MEMBERSHIP

If you are happy for your membership to be transferred to the new company, West Mercia Discretionary Health Scheme Ltd.  Your member number will remain unchanged. We will transfer your membership unless, within 2 weeks of receipt of this letter, you tell us not too.

The Trustees have decided that to cover the possibility of anything being due to be returned to members, they will give all members a payment holiday in September 2013.

RULES, SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BENEFITS WILL NOT BE AFFECTED

It is anticipated that the old trust will be closed on the last day of the scheme year (30th September 2013) by which time the new Limited Company will be ready to take over.

THERE IS ONE THING YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF

You will need to ensure that your executors know that you have been a member of a settlor interested trust.  When a will is sent for probate the executors need to pass on the information of the date you joined the trust, the date you left the trust and any income (none) received from the trust.  This information is relevant for 7 years: so will cease to be required after 2020.

HMRC have informed our advisors that the executors of any person who has been a  member of a settlor-interested trust within 7 years of the date of death must declare this fact when applying for probate.   This is because membership of the trust amounted to a reservation of benefit for inheritance tax purposes, which has to be reported as part of the probate application, and may increase the amount of tax due if the value of your estate is close to or above the tax free nil rate band currently £325,000”

As the current management of the scheme was not in place when the Trust was set up, we cannot provide accurate figures for contributions made by any individual member of the Trust.  We are only in a position to state that no individual could have contributed more than £52,800 since 1991.

If you are in any doubt you should seek advice from your solicitor, accountant or will writer.

Questions

If you have any questions about this, please write to the Tricare officePlease don’t phone – we need to keep the phone lines open for people who are ill.