Inheritance tax planning service
Do you know how much inheritance tax (IHT) may be due on your estate?
Inheritance tax is paid on anything that’s left behind when you die, but it can also apply to some gifts you make during your lifetime. That’s why careful and expert inheritance tax planning is vital to ensure you’ll be able to leave more of your wealth to the people and causes you choose.
Our inheritance tax planning and IHT portfolio service is all about passing on as much of your estate as possible, while also giving you flexibility and control over your arrangements.
Book a free consultation
To find out how our experts could help you manage your inheritance tax, arrange a complimentary consultation.
Frequently asked questions
Inheritance tax, or IHT for short, is a tax payable on the assets (money or possessions) you leave behind when you die; it’s often referred to as ‘death duty’. These assets, known as your ‘estate’, can include:
- Cash and savings in the bank
- Property and valuables, such as art, jewellery etc
- Businesses you own
- Pay-outs from life insurance policies not held in trust.
Many estates that are now subject to IHT in the UK belong to people who would not necessarily call themselves wealthy. Anyone whose total estate is worth £325,000 or more – including the value of their home – needs to pay IHT.
The rate is currently 40% and due on anything above the ‘nil-rate band’ of £325,000 (unless your estate also qualifies for the ‘main residence allowance’ – see next question – which adds £175,000 to the inheritance tax nil-rate band).
The main residence allowance applies when someone leaves their main residence to their children or grandchildren. This allowance is currently £175,000, meaning an individual’s allowances could reach up to £500,000 before their heirs have to pay IHT. This allowance is reduced for estates worth more than £2m and subject to certain conditions.
A combination of the ‘standard’ and ‘residence’ nil-rate bands could allow up to £500,000 of your estate to be exempt from IHT and up to £1m for a couple. The residence nil-rate band is gradually reduced for estates worth in excess of £2m and completely exhausted for joint estates currently worth more than £2.7m.
Funds from your estate are usually used to pay your IHT liability to HMRC. The executor/s named in your Will have to deal with this after your death. If you make certain kinds of gifts during your lifetime, but die within seven years after making them, the recipients of the gifts may be liable to pay IHT.
Calculate your inheritance tax
IHT is payable on the value of anything you leave behind when you die. The standard rate is 40% and is due on any amount above £325,000 for an individual.
*This assumes that you aren't entitled to the residence nil-rate band, that your assets will not qualify for business relief, that you have not made any gifts in the last seven years, and your estates do not qualify for a reduced IHT rate of 36%. Our experts can advise on where the reduced rate may apply.
Independent inheritance tax planning experts
Effective inheritance tax planning is a complex and precise process that forms part of a comprehensive wealth strategy encompassing all your goals and assets. That’s why it’s so important to consult experienced, independent specialists.
Our highly qualified personal Wealth Planners are not tied to any specific product or provider (not even Canaccord Genuity), so we can consider all the available options and make sure you have the best structures in place to meet your financial objectives.
Five top tips for inheritance tax planning
Think about giving away some of your estate, as some gifts are no longer included in your estate for IHT purposes:
- Spouses or civil partners can give each other as much as they want during their lifetime, as long as they are both domiciled in the UK
- You can make gifts to other people, of up to £3,000 in total in each tax year – this is known as the ‘annual exemption’; you can carry forward a maximum of one year, so you could give up to £6,000 in a particular tax year
- You can make any number of gifts of up to £250 each year to separate individuals, to cover things like birthday and Christmas presents, but you can’t combine these with the annual exemption
- You can make gifts to UK-established charities, national museums, universities and certain other bodies
- You can make gifts to people getting married, up to: £5,000 from each parent of the couple, £2,500 from each grandparent or remote relative, £2,500 from bridegroom to bride (and vice versa) and between civil partners, or £1,000 from anyone else.
Making regular gifts out of excess income can be a useful way to prevent further increases in your estate's taxable value. You can give away any surplus income you don’t need for day-to-day expenses, and use these gifts to fund:
- A life assurance policy (see tip 4)
- School fees for your grandchildren
- Pension contributions for adults or minors
- Building up ISA or JISA subscriptions, or
- Sending the family on regular holidays every year.
You need to show that these regular gifts will not affect your normal standard of living, and will come from income rather than capital. You can distribute any unspent income that otherwise would simply accumulate and increase your estate.
Making gifts of assets (cash, art, property etc) can also be an efficient way to reduce the value of your future taxable estate. However, having made a gift, it is crucial that you no longer benefit from the asset/s (known as ‘gifts with reservation’). You must also survive for seven years. Such gifts are also known as ‘potentially exempt transfers’. If you die within seven years, the recipient may have to pay IHT on the value of the gift.
Assets can be given to people and certain trusts. Trusts are complex, so you should seek advice about this. Gifts into trust are usually ‘chargeable lifetime transfers’.
You can insure your potential IHT liability, particularly for assets that are difficult to gift and put into trust, such as property. If you have excess income (see tip 2) you could take out a ‘whole of life’ assurance policy that pays out a fixed amount to cover your estate’s potential IHT liability when you die. If the premiums are paid out of excess income or by using your annual gift exemption of £3,000, they would not be counted as chargeable lifetime transfers. The policy should be written into trust, to prevent the eventual benefit forming part of the estate.
Setting up trusts allows you to keep control of your capital. Some trusts will pay a fixed level of income, while others can offer additional benefits, such as protection for your beneficiaries against the effects of divorce or bankruptcy.
Some assets can qualify for a tax allowance called Business Relief (BR). Once you’ve held these assets for two years, they are exempt from IHT (providing they are still in your estate when you die). Many are unlisted and certain AIM-listed stocks qualify. This approach carries a higher investment risk than other options, but you don’t have to give any assets away, you have ongoing access to your capital, and you don’t have to survive for seven years – just two.
IHT planning and passing on wealth – how we can help
Your dedicated Wealth Planner will spend time making sure they understand your personal goals and plans for your heirs, as they could affect the inheritance tax payable on your estate. They will then develop a forward-thinking strategy to help achieve your objectives, aiming to maintain your lifestyle and legitimately manage the IHT due on your estate.
Importantly, they will also advise you on the right order to do things in, so as not to harm your IHT position or impact other areas of your wealth planning.
Our inheritance tax planning services include:
- Cash flow modelling – to create a robust forecast of your future income and expenditure, so you don’t spend or give away more than you can afford
- Maximising tax efficiency by making the most of your allowances – including those gifts no longer included in your estate for IHT purposes, even if you die within seven years of making them
- Gifting excess income and assets – working with you to decide what you can comfortably afford to give away, to manage your estate's IHT liability
- Specialist investments – advising on how certain investments can be used to manage your IHT liability while offering growth potential to enhance your legacy. If you already invest through our investment management service, your Wealth Planner will work closely with your investment manager to restructure your portfolio.
Inheritance Tax Portfolio Service
Canaccord Genuity Wealth Managements own IHT Portfolio Service is a simple and efficient strategy for managing IHT.
It invests in a diversified range of established, profitable companies with favourable growth prospects chosen from the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). Once you've held an investment in certain AIM companies for two years, it no longer counts as part of your estate for IHT purposes, which is more favourable than the seven-year rule for gifts and simple trust transfers.
Why choose our IHT Portfolio Service?
- We have a strong track record for delivering superior investment returns
- We actively manage the IHT portfolio: if we decide that the investments we’ve chosen are no longer suitable, or if they stop being eligible for Business Relief (BR), we can sell them and reinvest the proceeds in another qualifying company, without having to restart the two-year period
- Investing in AIM companies lets you take advantage of a dynamic market of growing businesses
- Your IHT portfolio can be included in your annual ISA allowance, so you benefit from tax-free growth
- We will regularly update you with contract notes and quarterly formal valuations.
This service should be regarded as high risk as it is exclusively focused on equities. The portfolios are wholly invested in small capitalisation stocks. These companies are therefore more volatile and whilst they offer great potential, growth is not guaranteed. It is important to note that this should be seen as a long-term investment. The current inheritance tax rules and tax treatment of AIM shares may change in the future. We strongly recommend that clients discuss their financial arrangements with their tax adviser before investing, as the value of any tax reliefs available is subject to individual circumstances.
Investment involves risk. The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and you may not get back the amount originally invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
Our portfolios are designed to work over a typical investment cycle of 7-10 years, so we recommend you stay invested for at least seven years.
The information provided is not to be treated as specific advice. It has no regard for the specific investment objectives, financial situation or needs of any specific person or entity.
Book a free consultation with a Wealth Planner
What happens next?
1. Arranging an initial consultation
First you can expect to receive an email from our team within 48 hours to find a suitable time that works for you, to arrange a voice or video call for an initial consultation.
2. Your consultation
During this consultation, a member of the team will discuss your situation with you to understand your requirements and answer any questions you might have about Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management and the services that we provide.
3. Referral to a Wealth Planner or Investment Manager
If you decide to progress with us, you will be referred to one of our Wealth Planners or Investment Managers to discuss your situation and requirements in more detail. They will then design a bespoke proposal detailing a unique investment portfolio that matches your individual requirements and attitude to risk, to meet you and your family’s needs.
4. Working with you long-term
With our wealth planning and investment management professionals, your wealth is in expert hands. Our mission is simple - to help you build your wealth with confidence. We will always keep you informed about your investment portfolio and performance and will continue to work with you to build our relationship on your terms. We can meet with you face-to-face, by phone or by email, whichever is more convenient for you. You can also access your account online at any time through our app. Our wealth management professionals are always readily available to speak with you.
Investment involves risk and you may not get back what you invest. It’s not suitable for everyone.
Investment involves risk and is not suitable for everyone.