Here at legalmatters, we continue to do everything we possibly can to service our existing and new clients during these very difficult times.
Our ability to provide remote services makes us stand out from the crowd. This means that you can deal with your will, power of attorney, trust and tax advice etc all over the phone or by email and documents are sent to you by post. We are also advising our clients on signature processes bearing in mind social distancing measures.
Meanwhile, the office continues to operate with minimal skeleton staff for the protection of our staff, clients and visitors, enabling us to still process physical documents for our clients. If you do find that you need to call into the office for instance to have documents witnessed when it is otherwise difficult for you to arrange that with family and friends then do please get in touch.
You can ring us on 01243 216900 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gifts made before someone dies may be liable for inheritance Tax (IHT) unless they are made from income or are in an exempt category.
When an estate is administered, the Executor or Administrator will have to assess gifts that have been given by the deceased during their lifetime and decide whether or not they should be included in IHT calculations.
Gifts given during the last seven years of a person’s life may be liable for IHT. There are some exceptions to this, including the giving of gifts from surplus income.
Inheritance Tax on gifts
A maximum of £3,000 can be gifted each year free of IHT and, if not used, this allowance can be carried over for a single year. Single gifts of £250 do not attract IHT when made to different people.
Money can be given to family or friends who are getting married or entering into a civil partnership, in the sum of £5,000 for children, £2,500 for grandchildren and £1,000 for anyone else.
Payments made to support children under 18 or elderly relatives are usually exempt from IHT.
Gifts given from income may be exempt from IHT where they can be shown to be normal expenditure out of income.
Other gifts given in the seven years before death will be liable for IHT on a sliding scale where the value of the estate exceeds the IHT threshold, which is currently £325,000.
Gifts given out of income
For a gift given out of income to qualify for exemption from IHT, it must be possible to prove the following, to the satisfaction of HM Revenue and Customs:
- The gift is normal expenditure
The giving will need to be a regular or usual event. The estate Executor or Administrator can look for a pattern of giving over several years to try and establish whether it is an habitual occurrence.
- The gift is given from income
An exempt gift would usually be made from cash, or possibly from life insurance or pension income. Gifts from assets are not exempt unless the gift was purchased from income specifically to be given.
- The giver did not need it to live
The gift needs to be given out of income that is deemed surplus to the donor’s requirements. This means that the donor must be able to subsist on their remaining income without resorting to assets.
The rules around the giving of gifts are complicated, so to ensure you make the best decisions for your loved ones and your estate it is advisable to seek expert advice.
If you would like to speak to a Wills and estate planning expert, ring us on 01243 216900 or email us at email@example.com.
Inheritance Tax (IHT) can be a nasty surprise during the administration of a Will. New Year is the ideal time to check that you’ve done all you can to minimise the burden.
Increasing property prices has had the effect of increasing the amount of Inheritance Tax many people are paying. There are ways of reducing the amount due if you plan in advance.
The IHT threshold
IHT is payable at the rate of 40% of the value of an estate above £325,000, for example on a £400,000 estate, IHT is 40% of £75,000, ie. £30,000. The person who is appointed as executor or administrator of a Will is responsible for valuing the deceased’s estate and calculating the amount of IHT due, then making payment within six months of the date of death to HM Revenue & Customs.
IHT is not payable on money left to a spouse or civil partner or to charity. When the remaining spouse or civil partner dies, the unused IHT allowance of £325,000 is added to their allowance. If some of the allowance has been used, then only the remaining balance is passed on.
Leaving property to a family member
If you leave your primary residence to your children or grandchildren, to include step-children, then a ‘main residence nil-rate band’ is applied. This is £150,000 per person for the tax year 2019/20, rising to £175,000 as from April 2020.
This means that where your main home is gifted to your children or step-children, the total IHT allowance rises to £475,000. Any unused portion of this allowance can be passed on to a spouse or civil partner, meaning they could potentially pass on assets valued at £950,000 free of IHT, rising to £1m in April 2020.
Some gifts given during your lifetime may also have the effect of reducing the amount of IHT payable. The sum of £3,000 can be given in any tax year and any unused portion of this can be carried forward to the following tax year, although not beyond a single year.
In addition, gifts of up to £250 can be given to anyone and wedding gifts can be given to children in the sum of £5,000, grandchildren of £2,500 or others of £1,000.
Larger gifts are known as potentially exempt transfers and when someone dies within seven years of making them, IHT is payable on a sliding scale.
Setting up a trust
It is possible to leave assets to your loved ones via a trust to reduce IHT payable. Professional advice should be sought to ensure your beneficiaries receive what you want them to have and that your assets are adequately protected by the trust.
If you would like to talk to one of our expert tax, wills and probate solicitors, ring us on 01243 216900 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When someone dies, the first £325,000 of their estate is exempt from Inheritance Tax (IHT). If they don’t use all of this allowance, it can be transferred to their spouse’s or civil partner’s estate in due course. This is known as the transferable nil rate band.
This increases the exempt amount for the partner’s estate when they die, meaning they could have a potential IHT threshold of up to £650,000.
The relevant dates
The transfer of the nil rate band can be applied for if the remaining spouse or civil partner died on or after 9 October 2007.
In respect of civil partnerships, the transferable nil rate band can be claimed only if the first partner died on or after 5 December 2005, the date that the Civil Partnership Act became law.
How much nil rate band is transferable?
Where the first spouse or partner to die leaves all of their assets to the remaining spouse or civil partner, no IHT is payable, so the entire £325,000 can be passed to the remaining spouse, subject to the deduction of any non-exempt gifts made during the previous seven years.
How to apply to transfer the nil rate band
Two forms need to be sent to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). The first is the standard IHT form, while the second is the application to transfer the unused allowance. There are two options for this second form.
Form IHT217 Claim to Transfer Unused Nil Rate Bank for Excepted Estates
This form should be used when the estate of the first person to die is an excepted estate, ie. IHT was not payable, for example where the estate is worth less than £325,000 or where the assets are left to charity.
Form IHT402 Claim to Transfer Unused Nil Rate Band
Where some of the £325,000 IHT allowance was used by the estate of the first spouse to die, then only the remaining balance can be transferred to benefit the second estate. Other financial information will need to be included on the form, for example gifts made within the last seven years and pension details.
Both forms need to be signed by the estate Executor or Administrator and sent to HMRC together with the main IHT form, IHT400.
A probate lawyer will be able to work out the correct figures to be included on the form, which isn’t always straightforward, for example in the case of disposal of cash or assets by the deceased prior to their death or where gifts are made to charities, which could potentially reduce IHT liability.
To speak to one of our probate specialists, call legalmatters on 01243 216900 or email us at email@example.com.
When you lose someone you love it is always a difficult time. Having to deal with the paperwork involved in administering an estate after a death – and when you’re grieving – can be extremely upsetting.
That’s why at legalmatters we will always try to make the process as pain-free as possible for you – and why we’re always delighted to hear from a client when we’ve helped a family or an individual through such a stressful time. So thank you Jane for your kind words.
“Thank you and Megan, and all in the office staff for making my journey – sorting my dad’s estate through yourself and legalmatters – a professional, reassuring and stress free time. It’s been a pleasure and I would highly recommend you to friends.”
When someone dies and their assets are sold at a profit, their executor will need to calculate whether Capital Gains Tax is payable.
When an executor or administrator is dealing with the administration of an estate, part of their job is to account to HM Revenue & Customs for any tax which may be due. This includes Inheritance Tax, Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax.
Capital gains or losses during the tax year leading up to death will be taken into account when making the tax calculation, as well as any capital gains made on assets from the date of death until their sale.
This means that if for example the deceased leaves a property that is subject to Capital Gains Tax, ie a second property and not their main residence, then if the value of that property increases between death and sale, tax will be payable on the increase if the amount exceeds the Capital Gains Tax allowance.
Expenses can be deducted from the gain, for example estate agents’ or solicitors’ fees, or in the case of shares or valuables, stock broking or auction house fees.
Capital Gains Tax allowance 2019
An executor is given a Capital Gains Tax allowance of £12,000 per annum for the three tax years following death.
Once this allowance has been used up, Capital Gains Tax is payable at the rate of 28% in respect of residential property and 20% for other assets.
Beneficiaries’ liability for Capital Gains Tax
Where a beneficiary inherits a valuable asset and then proceeds to sell it, they may become personally liable for Capital Gains Tax.
They can use their Capital Gains Tax allowance and may only be liable to pay the tax at a lower rate if they are a lower rate tax payer. This means they would pay 18% on gains from a property sale rather than 28%, and 10% on gains from other assets rather than 20%.
Where a beneficiary occupied the property as their principal private residence and is entitled to at least 75% of the net proceeds of sale, the executor may use principal private residence relief to avoid the need to pay Capital Gains Tax on any increase in value.
Valuing inherited property
The value of an asset to be passed on to a beneficiary is the full market value as at the date of death.
Where the asset in question is a property, it is preferable for the executor to obtain a proper ‘red book’ valuation from a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, rather than simply an estate agent’s quote.
For advice on Capital Gains Tax and the most effective way of passing on assets, speak to one of our team at legalmatters on 01243 216900 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Giving gifts of cash or valuables before your death means that you can see your loved ones benefit from your generosity. But make sure you understand the Inheritance Tax situation before you give.
Inheritance Tax rules are complex, particularly when it comes to working out what might be due on gifts given before death. Research by Brewin Dolphin found that only 12% of those questioned knew what the annual tax-free gift threshold is.
If money or a valuable item (a lifetime gift) is given within the seven years before someone dies, then there is a possibility that Inheritance Tax will be due if the donor has given away more than the tax threshold amount of £325,000. In that event it would be the recipient of the gift who would be asked to pay the tax.
How much can you give tax-free?
An individual is permitted to give £3,000 per year, with no tax implications. This allowance can be carried over to the following year if it isn’t used, but it cannot be carried over for more than one year.
Amounts above £3,000 are added to the value of the estate if they were given within seven years of the donor’s death. If the total value of the estate exceeds £325,000, Inheritance Tax may be payable.
What is a lifetime gift?
As well as cash, any valuable item constitutes a gift and the value is added to the estate total for the purposes of calculating Inheritance Tax. This includes selling a property at below market value, for example to your children. In that event, the amount of the reduction is added to the value of the estate.
As well as the tax-free £3,000 per year, there are a number of other exemptions allowing you to gift money without needing to consider Inheritance Tax:
- Any money given to a spouse or civil partner;
- Single gifts of up to £250;
- Donations made to registered charities or political parties;
- £1,000 given as a wedding gift, rising to £2,500 for a grandchild or £5,000 for a child;
- Money given to an elderly or infirm relative or a child who is under 18 to support them;
- Gifts from surplus income, for example for birthdays or Christmas, providing it does not affect your standard of living.
The rules can be complicated and it is always worth seeking professional advice before distributing money.
To speak to someone about gifting, call one of our specialist team at legalmatters, on 01243 216900 or email us at email@example.com.
Inheritance tax is a tax that, if due, is payable upon a person’s death. Whether it needs to be paid depends on how much the deceased person’s estate is worth, and who is inheriting.
When does inheritance tax need to be paid?
If the total value of an estate is over £325,000 (nil rate band), then inheritance tax will need to be paid. It is charged at 40% on any amount over £325,000.
What is included in a person’s estate?
An estate includes all of the assets which the deceased owned or was entitled to on the day they died. This can include things like property, money, shares, investments, pensions, and possessions.
How can you reduce inheritance tax?
There are exceptions which can help to reduce inheritance tax. For example:
Spouses and civil partners are exempt beneficiaries. So inheritance tax does not need to be paid, regardless of how much an estate is worth.
Where at least 10% of an estate is left to charity, inheritance tax can be paid at a reduced rate of 36%. Where the whole estate is left to a charity, inheritance tax does not need to be paid at all.
Transferable nil rate band
Everyone is entitled to a nil rate band for inheritance tax. Assets that pass from one spouse or civil partner to another are exempt from inheritance tax. So, if someone dies and leaves everything to their spouse or civil partner, they won’t use any part of their allowance. This can be transferred to the second person’s estate leaving a nil rate band of up to £650,000 when they die.
Residence nil rate band
This is available in addition to the inheritance tax nil rate band. It is possible when a home is passed on death to a direct descendant. In 2018-19, if a property is left to children or grandchildren a residence nil rate band of £125,000 can be added to the original nil rate band. So the total threshold will increase to £450,000.
Transferable residence nil rate band
The residence nil rate band can also be transferred between spouses and civil partners. This only applies if the deceased had a spouse or civil partner who died before 6 April 2017, or if they died after this date but did not use all their available residence nil rate band.
Inheritance tax comes out of the estate funds. It is payable by the person who is dealing with the estate (the executor or administrator), and they can be held responsible for any errors in payment.
Find out about our Inheritance Tax Planning service on our website here: https://www.legalmatters.co.uk/inheritance-tax-planning.php. Call us on 01243 216900 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is Critical Event Protection and is it relevant to me?
If you are a member of a Death in Service Scheme, if you have a separate Critical Illness and Life Insurance Policy or even if you have a Pension Plan, you should look at Critical Event Protection.
What are these schemes and policies for?
Death in service schemes are often part of your employers’ group policy scheme which provides a lump sum for family or to cover the death of a shareholder in a business.
Critical illness policies produce an income supplement in the event of a critical illness and on death there is usually a lump sum paid.
Life insurance policies may make provision to cover inheritance tax, provide a lump sum for family or to cover the death of a shareholder in a business.
An occupational or self-invested pension plan may have a lump sum which will be paid on death.
What happens to these assets when I die and why would I need Critical Event Protection?
These valuable assets usually only pass to your next of kin if you’ve nominated them. If you haven’t, they go into your estate and may then become subject to Inheritance Tax at 40%. In this way, sometimes funds are wasted or end up with people you don’t even know yet, for example if your current partner or next of kin starts a new relationship.
How can I protect these assets for my dependents?
Using a trust preserves the use of these funds for your dependents, avoids direct ownership, can avoid the need to incur estate administration costs and may save inheritance tax. A trust protects and ringfences these lump sum proceeds and means a quick claim by the trustees upon your death can make the funds available in a protected trust environment to meet family costs.
At legalmatters, we have put together a simple solution, which will enable you to deal with these valuable assets, called Critical Event Protection.
Who are you going to leave money to in your Will? Your spouse or partner is probably first in line, any children or extended members of the family may pop up here and there too.
But what about charity?
Thousands of people every year choose to leave a gift to charity in their Will, whether it’s a fixed amount, a fixed percentage of their estate or even just what’s left after other gifts have been handed out to their surviving loved ones.
It doesn’t have to be a charity that you’ve been particularly involved with during your life either – you can leave money to any registered charity.
There’s another bonus to doing this, besides simply helping a good cause. Legacy giving – where you leave money to a charity – can also reduce your inheritance tax bill.
With inheritance tax, you – or rather your estate – is charged a rate of 40% on every £1 that the estate is valued above the nil rate threshold, which currently stands at £325,000 (though couples essentially enjoy a £650,000 threshold).
However, when you leave money to charity, it won’t count towards the value of the rest of your estate, giving you the opportunity to reduce the value of your estate below that threshold, ensuring no further tax is payable.
Even if your estate is still valued about the threshold, charitable giving can help reduce your tax bill. If you leave 10% of your net estate to charity, then the inheritance tax charged on the remainder of your estate falls from 40% to 36%, a reduction which could see the estate save thousands of pounds in tax.
Many of us regularly give to charitable causes while we’re alive. To do so after your death will not only help support good causes with some of your estate, but for your beneficiaries there are tax benefits that can come with it. Obviously, you should discuss this carefully with your loved ones and your will writer when drafting your Will.
It’s important for you to be clear when drawing up legal documents. Legalmatters can help, we’re always happy to discuss your needs or answer your questions. Call us today on 01243 216900 or email us at email@example.com for further details.
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