Inheritance Tax Planning

What exactly is Inheritance Tax Planning?

Inheritance Tax Planning principally is tax paid as a result of your death on all your estate: house, savings, car, antiques, household items, life policies, cash lump sums, inheritance from parents etc. The first £325,000 is tax-free. Everything over £325,000 is taxed at a rate of 40%. So, on a total estate of say £400,000, there would be a tax bill to be paid of over £30,000 . This is money that you will not be able to leave to anyone except the taxman! What could your children do with this?.

The very bottom line is whether you would rather give your hard earned money to the taxman or to your children/grandchildren.

How can you avoid Inheritance Tax?

There are a number of ways to avoid Inheritance Tax. Here are some of the most popular:

•Small gifts of money can be given away annually to reduce Inheritance Tax (up to £3,000 per person).

•A Discretionary Will Trust uses your Nil Rate Band (currently £325,000). This can take out up to 50% of the value of your house. This can be used for either spouse or partners but sadly not for singles or widows/ers. If your partner has died in the last 2 years, you can do a Deed of Variation and make/change a Will to make it tax efficient (as long as all the beneficiaries agree).

•Married couples and civil partners have a special concession. They can also use the left over allowance of their deceased partner effectively doubling the Nil Rate Band from the current £325,000 to £650,000.

•For larger estates, say over £650,000, there are a number of new ways to save even more IHT than ever before. We can ensure that your money goes to your children and not to the taxman.

•An Inter Spousal Transfer: married couples can in time save up to 50% of the value of your property by effecting a Deed of Gift of the debt created, to the children.

•Investment Trust: Gift up to £325,000 in funds to a special type of Relevant Property Trust which then incurs an income producing investment e.g. unit trusts. The income can go to the

person who made the gift. After 7 years, the gift can be excluded from IHT.

•Lifetime Trust: Gift £325,000 to a Trust every 7 years and repeat every 7 years. Each such gift is outside of the estate after 7 years.

•Pilot Trust: There are a number of ways in which trusts can be set up in a persons life time to save Inheritance Tax for future generations.

•Sharing Ownership: You can gift a portion of your home to an “occupant” such as a child, niece, nephew etc. This could eventually fall outside the calculation for IHT.

•Life Insurance to pay the Inheritance Tax bill when you die. This covers the IHT liability but unfortunately can be quite expensive and ideally should be used only if the other IHT saving methods do not “mop up” all the tax payable.