may seem a complex tangle of regulations but, with the right kind of professional advice, it is possible to navigate a safe path through the intricate conditions surrounding it so that our assets are passed on as we would wish.
Although assets passing to a spouse are exempt for Inheritance Tax
purposes, where everything is left to the surviving spouse, the two estates will be amalgamated and on the survivor's death Inheritance Tax
may need to be paid.
Backers of the proposal to reduce the inheritance tax
say it will help owners of small and medium-sized businesses, who are having difficulty in finding successors due to the high inheritance tax
In the inheritance tax
states (which impose tax rates depending on the relationship of the heir to the decedent), there are a wide range of rates and exemptions.
Currently, inheritance tax
is levied at a rate of 40% on the value of an estate above the tax-free threshold of PS325,000 per person (the 'nil rate band').
The OTS report said: "Inheritance tax
is often said to be unpopular and raises strong emotions, not least because it affects people only occasionally, in sometimes significant and surprising ways, and at a sensitive time."
Each person can pass on PS325,000 free of inheritance tax
The new rule (from April 6, 2017) means that shares of an offshore company are no longer excluded property for inheritance tax
, as their market value are attributable to a UK residential property.
While passing of assets solely to your spouse or registered civil partner usually means they are exempt from inheritance tax
in the first instance, a combined wealth may well mean your spouse or partner has an inheritance tax
problem to deal with when looking to pass on that wealth.
So for example, if David dies leaving an estate worth PS750,000, then PS425,000 of that will be subject to inheritance tax
(unless certain circumstances apply).
HMRC statistics also revealed that more than one in four estates were investigated for underpayment of inheritance tax
in 2016-17, a rise of 5% on the previous year.
Since issuing the research, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has instructed the Office of Tax Simplification ("OTS") to review Inheritance Tax
, and, at the time of writing, the OTS has set out the scope of the review.