Inheritance Tax – is it really a voluntary tax ?

Rather arrogantly, it was once said that the payment of Inheritance Tax was voluntary.  By implication all you needed to do was some simple planning and you could avoid the liability.

Recent changes in the law have been very helpful to married couples, making it possible to transfer the tax-free IHT threshold (currently £325,000) from one spouse to the other.  This has in many cases avoided the need for specific provisions to be written in to Wills.

However, not everyone is married and can double-up their IHT threshold.  Indeed, married or not, IHT can still be a significant drain on passing wealth down a family.

Attitudes to IHT planning vary enormously.  My own view is that capital taxes are here to stay in the UK and that the earlier one addresses the issue, the easier it is to limit the liability.  From the age of about 55 onwards, we find clients are receptive to planning.  The range of potential solutions is vast and we strongly advise our clients to consider structured products (often promoted by Independent Financial Advisers) as only one small part of the landscape. It’s a well-worn cliché, but bespoke advice really is key.  We work to understand the family dynamics, financial priorities and to carefully match the solutions to the client.