‘Not just for the rich’ – you could slash inheritance tax bills too

Inheritance tax: Graham Southorn explains how trusts can help

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

HM Treasury will take £7billion in inheritance tax this year and the total will steadily climb as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has frozen the threshold for paying the hated “death tax” until 2028.

Ordinary families often pay this punitive 40 percent levy while the super wealthy plan ahead to avoid a bill altogether.

Drawing up a trust can protect your wealth from the taxman but many do not consider this because they think it isn’t for them.

Stacey Love, technical manager for tax, trusts and estate planning at Canada Life, said they may be wrong. “Trusts aren’t just for the rich, your family could benefit, too.”

A trust is a legal arrangement that allows you to pass assets to loved ones in a tax-efficient manner, while still retaining some control over how they are used. 

Families typically set up trusts to pass money to children or grandchildren, to help pay for university fees, driving lessons and house deposits.   

Some fear youngsters will be spoilt by having a lot of money at a young age, and use a trust to limit how and when they receive the cash. 

Others worry that their child or grandchild has made a bad marriage, and do not want the money to go to their spouse on divorce. By making a gift in trust, the courts may be unable to demand it forms part of any divorce settlement.

Trusts can also help a bereaved, vulnerable or disabled child manage their money. “Divorcing couples use it to provide for the maintenance and welfare of the children,” Love added.

You can gift a range of assets into a trust, including cash, equities, family company shares, insurance policies, property and even paintings or antiques. 

Frequently, the donor elects to be a trustee, as they retain control say over how the gifted assets are used. 

Trusts have another major benefit.

Trust planning could also help you save inheritance tax. Assets gifted inside a trust will fall out of your estate if you live for another seven years, and do not benefit from any of the income and capital. The same goes for your partner if married.

If you gift assets outside a trust instead, they will also be IHT-free if you survive for seven years. The downside is that you will also have relinquished all control over that money with immediate effect.

There are several different types of trusts, and you should seek specialist advice to find which best suits your needs.

The simplest is a bare trust, which many parents and grandparents used to build a nest egg for children.

If the trust has been set up by a parent, they will pay tax on any income generated above £100 a year (£200 if the couple made a joint gift). This does not apply to grandparents.

Bare trusts are quite rigid and beneficiaries cannot change, whereas discretionary trusts are more flexible.

This makes them ideal for those who want to make a gift but haven’t decided who should benefit, or fear the recipient isn’t ready to manage it yet.

Discretionary trusts can be changed to include any future son or daughter-in-law, say, or children from a second marriage.

If you transfer more than the inheritance rate nil-rate band of £325,000 into a trust, you may pay IHT on the surplus at 20 per cent, plus up to another 20 per cent if you die within the next seven years.

Alternatively, a will trust allows a married couple to maximise both their £325,000 inheritance tax allowances. 

On the first death, £325,000 is gifted tax-free into the trust. The remainder of the estate is passed tax-free to the surviving spouse, who may also use their £325,000 allowance when they finally die.

Importantly, the surviving spouse has continuing access to assets within a will trust.

Love said many worry about putting assets into a trust in case they need to access the funds later, but with the right professional advice, this issue can be managed, too.

While expert advice can cost several thousand pounds, the savings may be much, much greater.


Source: Read Full Article