Inheritance Tax and Life Insurance
2 Oct 2019
Not all estates are large enough to incur Inheritance Tax, but this tax should be factored into your plans when you come to make your will. So that you can protect what’s yours, we at LifeSearch can arrange a policy that provides money to pay any potential tax bill.
What is Inheritance Tax?
When an estate transfers to your kids (or a beneficiary) the government will charge 40% in a levy called Inheritance Tax. This covers everything that you owned, for example houses, cars, jewellery and paintings. Last year, the government collected a record amount of £5.2 billion in Inheritance Tax receipts from UK families estates alone.
There’s usually no Inheritance Tax to pay if the value of your estate is below the £325,000 threshold or if you leave everything above the threshold to your spouse or civil partner or to an exempt beneficiary, such as a charity. Any Inheritance Tax incurred must be paid by the end of the sixth month after the person’s death, or HMRC will start charging interest. It can be quite problematic for family members.
Writing a life insurance policy ‘in trust’Most life insurance policies will count as part of the estate unless your policy is written ‘in trust’. This doesn’t cost anything extra and you can do it when taking out your policy. A trust affects the manner of the payout in the event of your passing and is set aside to benefit a particular person or group of people that we refer to as the beneficiary. Until the beneficiary can benefit from the trust, for example until a child becomes 18, it is managed by a trustee such as your husband/wife or another relative.
Usually, the payout from a life insurance policy will form part of your legal estate. Writing life insurance in trust basically means that the payout is paid to your beneficiaries and not to your legal estate. This will help to avoid going over the Inheritance Tax threshold because it won’t be taken into account when Inheritance Tax is calculated.
It also allows the probate process to be completed as quickly as possible, which is a legal process that confirms an executor’s authority to deal with and distribute your possessions. This can take a while but with a life insurance policy in trust, it can pay out before probate is granted.
Can I avoid my family having to pay Inheritance Tax?Inheritance Tax isn’t always something you’ll be able to dodge but there are ways to reduce the financial impact, aside from a trust. If Inheritance Tax is something that you’re anticipating, you can dedicate a portion of your life insurance payout to pay off the tax bill.
This is something that can be arranged for you here at LifeSearch, saving your family having to sacrifice 40% of your assets and along with that, saving them quite a headache. You might have a few questions and queries about this decision. Feel free to give us a call to speak to one of our LifeSearch advisers to learn more about writing your policy in trust on 0800 316 7253
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