Recent news reports indicate that the average Edinburgh house price is currently £213,492 - up 5.5% on 2012, and signals are that this will continue to rise. While this is positive for house sellers, it can have less welcome implications when it comes to tax and the total of your ‘estate’ (a person’s net worth at any point in time).
Very roughly you can tally up the value of your home, belongings, savings, valuables and investments and begin to see how Inheritance Tax (IHT) – once the province of only the seriously wealthy – may now quite easily apply to you, your parents or grandparents.
While the first £325,000 of the estate you leave behind after death is tax free, anything over and above this is subject to 40% tax (with a few exceptions). For families who want to preserve their hard earned cash and treasured possessions for children or relatives it’s worth considering some practical measures:
1. Make a Will – by legally passing your entire estate to your spouse/civil partner and vice versa, the survivor will benefit from the double nil rate band tax allowance (currently set at £650,000)
2. Find out more about a Discretionary Trust Will – making one of these allows you to ring-fence both nil rate bands for a couple or civil partners in more complicated familial circumstances
3. Give a Gift – you can make gifts from your estate before you die, but there are strict IHT limits. You can give away up to £3,000 per year tax free, but any assets, cash or property given away above that threshold will be potentially subject to IHT for seven years, so it pays to think ahead
4. Leave a Legacy – many people choose to leave a charitable legacy in their Will. By leaving 10% or more of your worth to a favourite charitable cause, the tax rate on your remaining estate drops to 36%
If you’d like more information on how to protect your estate for your dependents we’d be happy to meet with you free of charge to discuss your needs. Just call 0131 624 6820 and ask for a 360 Lifestage Review, or visit www.paganosborne.com/lifestages to find out more.