Few of us like to think about dying, but equally few of us could live with the thought that we have not made adequate provision for family and friends who survive us.
The legislation that governs the passing on your estate to your chosen beneficiaries requires you to plan well in advance. Since none of us knows when we shall die, this means making the necessary provisions now.
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.
However, a new allowance will be phased in from 2017, which can be offset against a person’s home when it is left to children or grandchildren. This allowance will be set at £100,000 in 2017-18 and will increase 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 government has said that 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 even then only when they are leaving it to specified beneficiaries. The main residence nil rate band will also be withdrawn on a tapered basis for estates with a net value of more than £2 million.
The earlier you make the arrangements, 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!
Trusts are a vital and essential 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 up a trust, and provide 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.