ESTATE AND INHERITANCE TAX PLANNING
Inheritance Tax Planning
Inheritance Tax (IHT) is no longer just a concern of the wealthy. It is a growing concern for all of us, especially homeowners who have benefited from growth in the value of their properties over recent years.
At a rate of 40% over the ‘nil rate band (currently £325,000 per person), tax can severely hit the estates of both married and unmarried people. However, you can implement some basic long-term financial planning now that will eliminate, or significantly reduce the amount of inheritance tax your loved ones pay after your death.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is a critical part of financial planning as successful estate planning allows you to mitigate or reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax that might become payable on your estate when you die.
It allows you to pass your estate to your nominated beneficiaries in the most tax efficient manner thus ensuring that your loved ones receive maximum benefit.
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There are a number of key components to estate planning. They include:
- A Will – detailed instructions on how to distribute a persons assets. A Will also contains details of who is to act as Executor of the deceased’s estate to ensure that it is distributed in line with the explicit instructions of the Will.
- A Trust – a legal ‘body’ that is set up to receive assets from the Donor. The trust then owns these assets, which are looked after by the Trustees.
- Gifts – In certain circumstances gifts can be made by individuals and in the event of death they are potentially exempt from Inheritance Tax.
- Tax plans – financial professionals can also help to ensure that a person takes advantage of tax efficiencies and exclusions.
- Tax relieved Investments – Some investments allow you to qualify for relief on the income tax you have paid, defer CGT ad reduce IHT.
Estate Planning can be complex, but it is time well spent for your own peace of mind and to ensure that your estate is preserved and that your intentions are well understood after your death. You will need to consider the future financial needs and evaluate your total assets or ‘estate’. To understand the value of your estate, you will need to have a clear view on:
- Your income and potential future income
- Your current and future expenses (higher education for your children for example)
- Your existing assets and any debts that you have
- Any relevant tax liabilities – death taxes, income taxes, etc.
It is advisable to seek expert advice from a professional financial advisor as this will ensure you have included all aspects that pertain to your personal circumstances.
How Often Should I Review My Estate Planning?
As with any financial plan, it is important to review your estate planning regularly. Any significant life change, such as marriage or divorce, the birth of a child, or the death of a family member should trigger a review of your overall finances.
Even without major changes in your situation, it is important to re-evaluate your estate planning at least every five years.
Always consult with a financial advisor before making changes however, to be certain that you have taken all aspects of your revision into account, including any tax implications.
What Are the Options for Paying My Beneficiaries Their Inheritance?
Your beneficiaries can receive your designated distributions through your Will at the time of your death, or you may wish to establish a Trust that provides for receipt of your estate over a period of time, or at a specified time or condition (such as when the beneficiary reaches a certain age).
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Inheritance tax planning is not regulated by the FCA.