Your Will and Inheritance Tax

Inheritance tax is often referred to as a voluntary tax as there are steps which can be taken before death to reduce, or potentially even prevent entirely, a liability arising through careful planning and the making of a Will.

Unfortunately, the intestacy rules are there to ensure that the closest legal relatives of the deceased inherit and they do not always therefore distribute the estate in a tax efficient way.

We would strongly advise that you take advice about your individual circumstances to see the options available to you when making your Will. This is one of the disadvantages to homemade Wills: you may know how you want to leave your estate but not the tax implications this will have. This is also why it is important to review your Will as the tax position can and does change.

If you require our advice or assistance with regard to Wills and tax planning, please contact our team by emailing or calling us on 020 3440 8000.

Frequently Asked Questions

The nil rate band is currently £325,000 and estates in excess of this may be liable to inheritance tax which is charged at 40%. If the deceased is the second to die in a marriage or civil partnership, any unused nil rate band for the partner who died first may also be applied. If you own residential property and your estate passes to direct descendants, your estate may be entitled to benefit from the residence nil rate band which is currently £175,000.

It is valid indefinitely unless it is revoked by deliberate destruction by the testator or testatrix or by the making of a newer Will, although it should be reviewed with relative frequency say every 7 years so that the Will keeps pace with changes in your financial circumstances and in the family structure.

This is a matter of personal choice.  You can keep your original Will at home in a safe place. Many people do however leave their Wills with the solicitor who prepared the Will. It is possible to deposit the Will with HMCTS and an informal register of Wills is kept by a company called Certainty.

  • On the grounds that you lacked capacity to make it e.g. you did not understand what you were doing; If a solicitor is concerned that you lack capacity you will be advised to obtain a medical assessment confirming that you do have the capacity to make a Will to reduce the likelihood of a challenge under this ground succeeding.
  • that you made it under duress or you were influenced by another person i.e. it was not voluntarily made; It is important when making a Will with a solicitor that you are seen on your own with no one else present to reduce the likelihood of a challenge under this ground succeeding.
  • if there is any element of fraud; or
  • because a person has a potential claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This may vary the provisions made in the Will or under the intestacy rather than challenge the validity of the Will.

Who to contact

Patrice Lawrence headshot
Patrice was excellent – approachable, professional, friendly and very efficient. She took the time to explain what we didnt understand and was always helpful and polite. She was a pleasure to deal with… I am already using your conveyancing department! Thank you!

Start your confidential enquiry with us

Call: 020 3440 8000|View our Whitechapel Office|View our Clapham Junction Office