Estate planning should start early in life and is for everyone, not just the very wealthy. It is about ensuring control of your estate and planning ahead so there are no uncertainties about how it is managed in the future.
Minimise the effect of tax It can also help minimise the effect of tax and ensure that your beneficiaries are looked after, especially young children or any dependants who may be vulnerable and need special care. Inheritance Tax (IHT) is a tax on your estate – the things that belong to you – when you die and is also sometimes payable on trusts or gifts made during your lifetime.
IHT is often called a voluntary tax because, with careful planning, the amount your estate has to pay could be reduced or removed completely. From writing a Will, to understanding the exemptions and making lifetime gifts, there are currently several options to help mitigate IHT.
Your estate includes the total of everything you own and a share of anything you own jointly. Things that might count towards your estate include:
Insurance (not written in an appropriate trust)
Payment from a pension plan or employee death benefit (unless in a trust)
Other assets, for example, cars, art, jewellery, furniture
Gifts you have made but still benefit from, for example, a house you have given away but still live in
Certain gifts that you have made in the last seven years
Assets held in trust from which you receive personal benefit
If you own assets jointly, your share of their value is included in your estate
For the 2017/18 tax year, no IHT is charged on the value of your estate up to £325,000. This is known as the 'nil rate band' and everything above that is taxed at 40 per cent. There's something else that's worth knowing. There is an extra allowance covering the value of your main home, starting at £100,000 but rising to £175,000 per person by 2020.
Combined with a normal nil-rate band, it means an individual will be able to leave £500,000, and a couple up to £1,000,000, without their estate being subject to inheritance tax at all.
If your IHT nil rate band is not used up on your death, the unused proportion can be transferred to your surviving spouse or registered civil partner.
Assets passed to your spouse or registered civil partner are exempt from IHT (assuming your spouse or partner is domiciled in the UK), regardless of your worth and how soon you die after making them...
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