Inheritance Tax Planning

Ensure more of your estate goes to the people you love, when you die

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The older we get, the more likely we’ll start to think about the legacy we’ll leave behind – and, in particular, how we’d like it to benefit the people (or good causes) we care about.

But how can you make sure that as much of that legacy as possible goes to your beneficiaries, without being swallowed up by tax charges? The answer lies within the concept of Inheritance Tax planning.

Inheritance Tax (IHT) is a charge applied to someone’s estate when they die, by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Your estate will include everything from your pension, to your property and possessions. No IHT is payable on the first £325,000 of your estate. But everything above that amount is generally taxed at a standard rate of 40% – though there are opportunities to reduce the total amount of tax payable.

On top of the nil rate band, there’s also what’s called a main residence allowance. This is currently set at £175,000 per person and would apply when the deceased’s home is passed to their spouse or direct descendant.

IHT planning is a financial planning strategy that aims to identify and make use of the opportunities to reduce the amount of inheritance tax payable, to ensure more of your estate goes to your beneficiaries.

There are a number of ways to reduce an IHT bill, the most straightforward being making a will and leaving all your assets to your spouse, if you have one. There are also more complex IHT planning strategies that require longer-term planning and guidance from a qualified professional in order to be successful. These include tax-efficient investing, gifting your assets in your later years, and putting your assets into trust.

Inheritance tax planning is a complex area that requires forward-thinking and expertise. The rules and laws relating to it will depend on your circumstances, and they’re subject to change at any time.

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