This client was referred to us by an accounting firm in London. The client had a bereavement in the family and the deceased was subject to significant inheritance tax due to the size of the estate. After long discussions and research into the deceased’s family and background, our specialist tax advisers were able to propose various post-death tax planning strategies to enable the tax liability to be completely eliminated. The tax planning structure was based on existing HMRC practices and the legislation which are often overlooked by advisers.
Our analysis: Inheritance tax is the only tax that can be significantly mitigated or even completely eliminated provided specialist tax planning advice has been taken and sufficient time has been allowed. We have come across a number of situations where clients come to us at a very old age and not much can be done other than some basic tax planning. We have also experienced families having to sell properties in order to pay the deceased’s inheritance tax. In some other cases, where we have been approached at a very late stage for inheritance tax advice, some of our clients have had to take very expensive insurance policies to cover the tax bill in case of death within in a certain time frame.
In the above situation, our client was quite lucky as there were some special exemptions that could be used to reduce the inheritance tax liability. These exemptions are not available to all individuals and our recommendation has always been to seek specialist advice at an early stage.