No need to be a record breaker to minimise Inheritance Tax: plan wisely instead

A shock discovery this January reveals how far one family went to avoid paying Inheritance Tax.

Jeanne Calment is currently listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest person to have ever lived, and was 122 years and 164 days old when she died in 1997. However, researchers have now apparently unearthed new evidence that Calment actually died in 1934, and that her daughter assumed her identity as part of an elaborate tax evasion ploy!

Nigel Benton, Senior Manager at Whitley Stimpson’s Witney office, the largest independent accountancy and business advisors in the area, said: “There are a number of rules around inheritance tax, but as with all rules lie some very complex provisions, so careful planning is required to ensure that the maximum benefits can be achieved.”

Don’t leave it too late – not having a Will can result in assets passing to the wrong person or in a way that gives rise to a larger Inheritance Tax bill.

Make the most of available reliefs, exemptions and allowances available – for example, recent changes to inheritance tax-free allowances allow parents to leave a house up to £1 Million in value to their children free of inheritance tax, in the form of Residence Nil-Rate Band (RNRB). 

Make gifts– lifetime gifts to individuals are potentially exempt from IHT, but again, the detail and rules around this can differ based on each individual’s unique situation.

Consider placing assets in a trust – If structured correctly, assets placed in trust will not be subject to IHT.

Take out Insurance– an insurance policy can be tailored to grant control over how wealth is used by heirs, but without additional IHT.

Nigel concludes: “These are complex areas of inheritance tax and rules and rates are always changing so it is crucial to seek the right advice and make the most of any new opportunities and to avoid any pitfalls.

We carry out substantial planning to ensure that the tax our clients pay is minimised, ensuring there’s no need to hijack the family tree and outdo the Calments!”

For advice, please contact tax expert, Nigel Benton on 01933 700010 or nigelb@whitleystimpson.co.uk