One way of ensuring that your loved ones receive assets is to pass them over while you’re still alive. However, this needs careful thought as you may not want to relinquish control and you need to make sure you keep enough yourself to live off – a difficult balancing act.

The first stage

As a starting point, you need to value your estate, including your home, other property, shares and investments, money and savings, business assets, cars, jewellery and other personal possessions. From this, deduct debts and liabilities, including your mortgage, bills, loans, credit cards, overdrafts, and funeral expenses.

Make your wishes known

Successful estate planning includes having a valid Will in place and establishing trusts which manage money or other assets on behalf of beneficiaries. Trusts can give you control over who receives what and when. It is also a good idea to set up lasting powers of attorney (LPAs), covering ‘health and welfare’ and ‘property and financial affairs’ at an early stage.

Inheritance Tax (IHT)

Estate planning can be used to reduce the amount of IHT payable, enabling you to pass on more of your assets. The current IHT nil-rate threshold is £325,000 for individuals and £650,000 for a married couple or civil partners. Any unused portion of the nil-rate band can be passed to a surviving spouse or civil partner on death. IHT is usually payable at a rate of 40% beyond these thresholds. A main residence nil-rate band (currently £175,000) may also apply if you want to pass your main residence to a direct descendant.


If you have surplus income, you could consider gifting money to the next generation. Professional advice on the current rules is recommended, to ensure gifts are made in the right way to qualify for relevant exemptions, so that IHT is not chargeable on them later unless the rules change.

Help with your estate planning

Our advice will help you to pass on your assets to the people you want, in the most effective and tax efficient way. The Financial Conduct Authority do not regulate estate planning.

It is important to take professional advice before making any decision relating to your personal finances. Information within this page is based on our current understanding and can be subject to change without notice and the accuracy and completeness of the information cannot be guaranteed. It does not provide individual tailored investment advice and is for guidance only. Some rules may vary in different parts of the UK.

Tax and Estate planning are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

The value of pensions and investments can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invested.

Will writing is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Quilter Financial Planning Ltd are not responsible for any will writing advice.