There are two certain things in life – paying taxes and dying…..although we don’t want to think about either, making sure our loved ones are provided for in the event of our death should be a top priority, especially as we don’t know when it will happen.

The laws that govern how your estate will be passed and to whom (known as your beneficiaries) requires you to plan well in advance.

Inheritance Tax (IHT)

In the event of your death, your beneficiaries could pay inheritance tax at 40% on the value of your estate above £325,000, or £650,000 if you’re married or in a civil partnership.

However, a new allowance phased in from 2017, can be offset against a person’s home when it is left to direct descendants – children or grandchildren. This allowance was set at £100,000 in 2017-18 and is increasing year on year to £175,000 by 2020-21. It will be in addition to the existing £325,000 threshold, which the government has confirmed will not increase before the end of 2020-21.

Whilst the effect of the new allowance – called the main residence nil rate band – will be to create an effective IHT threshold of £1 million by 2020-21, the figure of £1 million will only apply to married couples and civil partners who own or, in certain circumstances have owned, a home worth more than £350,000 and then only when they are leaving it to direct descendants. The main residence nil rate band will also reduce on a tapered basis for estates with a net value over £2 million.

The earlier you plan, the greater your chance of taking full advantage of the inheritance tax planning opportunities available and thereby maximising the amount that goes to your beneficiaries. Nothing is more demoralising than the thought that a substantial slice of the wealth you have worked hard to accumulate will end up in the Government’s coffers!

An introduction to Inheritance Tax and Wills


Trusts are a vital part of financial planning, and can be very tax-efficient vehicles to set aside assets for future beneficiaries, outside the inheritance tax net. We can advise on the most suitable type of trust for your purposes and, with the help of our specialist professional connections, can assist you in setting these up, whilst providing a full range of accounting, tax compliance and management services for trustees.


Together with our specialist professional connections, we can also advise you on the preparation of your will and provide a discreet estate planning service that includes:

  • Help with drawing up and reviewing your will.
  • Making full use of exemptions and lower tax rates on lifetime transfers.
  • Optimising lifetime transfers between spouses.
  • Transferring agricultural or business property.
  • Transferring assets into trusts.
  • Arranging adequate life assurance to cover potential inheritance tax liabilities.

We strongly advise you to begin your estate planning right away by contacting us for a preliminary review.

Where appropriate, we can act as trustees or executors.

Levels and bases and reliefs from taxation are subject to change and their value depends on the circumstances of the individual investor.


Sign-up to receive our updates by email

If you would like to see full details of our data practices please visit our Privacy Policy
and if you have any questions please email

Get In Touch

Contact us to find out more on how we can help you

Birchwood Investment Management Ltd,
8 Prospect Place, Welwyn, Hertfordshire, AL6 9EN

01438 840888 *

* Please note calls to and from the above number are recorded for training purposes.