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DEAR TRICIA; Need some practical financial advice? YOUR MONEY Editor Tricia Phillips and her team can help.

Byline: Edited by TRICIA PHILLIPS

Q I have taken out NS&I Children's Bonds for my grandchildren, but when I went to get one for our latest grandchild recently I was told they no longer exist. What happens to the bonds I'm already saving in to and what can I do for the latest arrival?

A Unfortunately children's bonds are closed to new investors, however maturing bonds can be re-invested into new issues if the grandchild is still under age 16. For your new arrival you could consider a Junior ISA from your bank or building society or a Tax Exempt Saving Plan from a friendly society.

Q I've recently read about funding problems with company pension schemes. I'm in my late 60s and get a pension from my former employer. Is that safe as I would struggle to pay my bills without that income?

A A lot of pension schemes do have funding deficits. This is usually due to large pension guarantees, low interest and gilt rates, and the fact recipients live longer nowadays. I guess no scheme is safe but you should be protected by the government-backed Pension Protection Fund if your scheme gets into financial trouble.

Q Earlier this year I transferred PS1,150 of my wife's income tax allowance to me. I was informed I would receive a refund of two times PS220 but I have not received this yet. Do you know when this will happen, or have I been given the wrong information?

A Transferring marriage allowance will usually be reflected by HM Revenue and Customs changing your tax code. This process can take up to two months to be implemented, or it's done when you send back a Self-Assessment tax return, if you're self-employed.

Q Are wills really free during this Free Wills Month? Is there a catch as I can't believe solicitors would do this for free? I enquired about writing a will recently and was told it would cost me around PS250 to get it sorted.

A Free Wills Month brings together a group of registered charities to offer members of the public aged 55 and over the opportunity to have simple wills written or updated free of charge. There are participating solicitors in selected locations around England, Northern Ireland and Wales. The charities then hope you will kindly leave a gift to them in your will.

Q If I am simply remortgaging with the bank that I've got my current loan with, will I have to go through the new stricter lending process? Friends have said it's awful and I'm worried I might get turned down.

A You can usually do a straightforward rate switch without further evidence of earnings etc being required. However, should you want to borrow any more money (ie, take out a further advance) or alter the terms of your borrowing, then you would be asked to provide all relevant information to prove you can afford this extension to your borrowing commitments.

Thanks to our independent financial advisers - The Money Map (0800 848 8250) and PMI's John Stewart (0800 018 3751). For independent advice write to Your Money Independent Advice Bureau, Daily Mirror, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AP. Please give your age, income, family circumstances and details of financial products you want advice on, along with your phone number. Or email marked "advice"

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 4, 2017
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