It’s not a subject many people like to discuss, but estate planning for your loved ones after your death is essential. Planning early can ensure your financial affairs are all in order, especially in helping you reduce and manage your Inheritance Tax bill (IHT). And with the IHT changes included in the latest budget, Inheritance Tax planning is now more important than ever.
What is Inheritance Tax (IHT)?
Inheritance Tax (IHT) is a tax that needs to be paid on your estate – which includes any property, possessions, money, or insurance policies – after your death. How much IHT needs to be paid will depend on the value of your assets after any debts, but any assets left to your spouse or partner may be exempt from IHT as are any assets you leave to a charity.
How much is Inheritance Tax?
The IHT payable depends on the value of your assets after any debts, and it can be as much as 40%. But there is a tax-free allowance we all get called the Nil-Rate Band (NRB), which means your beneficiaries can inherit up to £325,000 from your estate without having to pay tax on it. On estates above the NRB, there is a standard 40% IHT rate. However, there is usually no IHT to be paid if:
- your estate’s value is under the NRB threshold of £325,000
- everything over the threshold is left to your legal spouse or partner
- everything over the threshold is left to an IHT tax-exempt beneficiary
But if you’re leaving property to a beneficiary who’s a family member, a Residence Nil-Rate Band (RNRB) might also apply. This is an extra tax-free allowance that can also be used if you leave any property you’ve lived in for a direct relation (a child, grandchild, or sibling etc).
This is currently set at £175,000 and means that, when combined with the NRB, you could leave an estate up to the value of £500,000 IHT free.
The freeze on Inheritance Tax thresholds
The £375,000 NRB on IHT has been the same since 2009 while the current £175,000 RNRB has crept up over the years in line with inflation. But at the 2021 budget, the Chancellor announced he would freeze the level at which people start paying IHT for a further 5 years. This means the basic NRB will remain at £325,000 and the RNRB at £175,000 until 2026.
An IHT tax freeze like this is significant and it can be seen as good news for many and will see your asset rise in value. But any estate value that goes over the NRB standard rate of £325k, means your beneficiaries will need to pay it. And with increased energy and food costs, the recent NI hikes, and rising inflation, there will be a growing number of families that might be adversely affected and struggle to pay.
The 5-year IHT freeze and continued rising costs add even more importance to your IHT planning. It gives you an ideal opportunity to review your estate and make sure as much of it goes to your intended beneficiaries instead of to the government. To avoid that outcome, early and careful preparation will mean your beneficiaries will benefit most.
Inheritance Tax planning with MJR Solicitors
IHT planning can be complex with different requests and circumstances to take into account. But MJR Solicitors are experienced specialists in making it a process that’s easy to understand for you. Book your free 30-minute consultation with us today by calling our team on 01243 945 054, emailing us at email@example.com or by sending us a message on our contact form, and we’ll give you the guidance you need to start your IHT planning today.
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