Protecting Your Wealth: Smart Inheritance Tax Strategies for 2024-25

Inheritance tax is levied on the total value of an individual’s estate, encompassing property, money, and possessions, upon their passing. For the 2024-25 tax year, the standard IHT rate stands at a substantial 40% on assets exceeding the £325,000 threshold. However, this seemingly straightforward rule is subject to a range of exemptions and reliefs, underscoring the importance of strategic planning.

One key consideration is the Residence Nil-Rate Band (RNRB), which provides an additional allowance when a primary residence is bequeathed to direct descendants. In the 2024-25 tax year, the RNRB is set at £175,000, potentially increasing the IHT-free threshold to £500,000 for an individual.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

While no major legislative changes have been introduced specifically for the 2024-25 tax year at the time of writing, it’s essential to remain vigilant and seek professional guidance. The tax world is ever-evolving, and being proactive in adapting your strategies can mean the difference between preserving your wealth or seeing it diminished by unanticipated tax implications.

Practical Strategies to Minimise IHT

Effective IHT planning is not a one-size-fits-all endeavour; rather, it demands a tailored approach that considers your unique circumstances and aspirations. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Gifting Assets: A time-honoured technique is to gift assets or cash during your lifetime, potentially reducing the taxable value of your estate. However, it’s crucial to be mindful of the seven-year rule, which dictates that gifts are only potentially exempt from IHT if the donor survives for seven years after making the gift.
  2. Trusts: Establishing a trust can be an intricate yet rewarding strategy for asset protection and potential IHT mitigation. However, trusts are complex legal entities, and seeking expert guidance is essential to ensure they are structured correctly and aligned with your long-term financial objectives.
  3. Life Insurance Policies: A life insurance policy, written in trust, can help offset any IHT liability by providing a lump sum outside of your estate. This can be particularly useful in providing funds to pay any IHT due without impacting the assets in the estate.
  4. Business Relief: For entrepreneurs and business owners, Business Relief can offer substantial reductions in IHT on eligible business assets. Depending on the nature of the assets, this relief can range from 50% to 100%, significantly reducing the tax burden.
  5. Charitable Giving: Donations to registered charities are exempt from IHT, and if you generously bequeath at least 10% of your net estate to charitable causes, the IHT rate on the remaining portion of your estate can potentially be reduced from 40% to 36%.

Tailoring Your Plan with Professional Guidance

While these strategies offer potential paths for IHT mitigation, it’s essential to recognise that each individual’s circumstances are unique, with varying financial goals, family dynamics, and asset compositions. This is where the expertise of a professional accountant or tax advisor becomes invaluable.

By working closely with a trusted advisor, you can develop a comprehensive plan that considers your specific needs and preferences. These professionals can guide you through the intricate web of IHT regulations, evaluate the suitability of different strategies, and ensure that your plan aligns seamlessly with your overall financial objectives.

Moreover, inheritance tax planning is not a static endeavour. As life circumstances evolve – the birth of new family members, shifts in asset values, or changes in personal priorities – your plan may need to be adjusted accordingly. Regular reviews with your advisor can help ensure that your strategies remain relevant and effective, adapting to the ever-changing landscape of taxation.

For more information contact Ballards LLP at 01905 794 504

Disclaimer. This article has been prepared for information purposes only. Formal professional advice is strongly recommended before making decisions on the topics discussed in this release. No responsibility for any loss to any person acting, or not acting, as a result of this release can be accepted by us, or any person affiliated with us.

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