When somebody dies, the taxman’s tentacles can still reach out one last time! Yet, many are unsure of how to value the estate and how much tax they are liable for.
An individual’s estate needs to be valued for Inheritance Tax (IHT) purposes. The value of their estate includes all assets owned (solely or jointly) as well as the value of any non-exempt gifts made in the seven years prior to death.
If you are domiciled in the UK (or deemed to be domiciled in the UK) your estate will include your worldwide assets. Assets include:-
- Property (main residence and any other property)
- Bank accounts and investments (including ISA’s)
- Chattels, for example paintings, antiques and jewellery
- Money owed
All individuals are entitled to a ‘nil rate band’ for IHT purposes, which is currently set at £325,000. The value of your estate in excess of the nil rate band, will be taxed at 40%, subject to any further reliefs and exemptions, the main ones of which are:-
- Transfers to your surviving spouse attract 100% exemption
- Gifts to registered charities are exempt from IHT and if the charity donations are sufficient this may reduce the IHT rate to 36% on the rest of the Estate.
- Certain qualifying business assets attract 100% relief from IHT
- If you are widow or widower and were married or in a civil partnership, any % of unused nil rate band from your spouse, can be transferred to your estate. This can double the Nil Rate Band to currently £650,000
- The main residence nil rate band – currently £100,000 increasing to £175,000 over the next few years. Also transferable from a deceased spouse. There are qualifying conditions to be met to claim this relief.
It is vital to take steps early to help reduce your IHT exposure and also ensure that your assets are passed to the next generation in a tax efficient manner.
If you would like to discuss options, how to value the estate and how best to minimise IHT, please contact our probate expert Paul Dell at firstname.lastname@example.org.