Passing on your wealth

Inheritance: how to pass on your wealth and property whilst minimising tax

Simple tips on estate planning and helping your loved ones, from Junior ISAs to trusts, gifts, helping with mortgages and making a future-proof will.

Why should I care about Inheritance Tax?

Inheritance Tax isn't just a concern for the very wealthy.

Last year this tax brought in a record £5.2 billion for the Government and many ordinary people get caught out, leaving children and relatives in difficult positions.

It's worth thinking about Inheritance Tax early and in relation to any wealth you'd like to pass on.

We've put together several guides to Inheritance Tax and how it works. Start with our basic guide here, then find out how your marital and relationship status affects inheritance here.

Start early

Having children puts a major strain on your finances, but it's also an opportunity to think about the future.

You can start saving for your kids by setting up a Junior ISA, or consider a trust fund. Previously restricted to the rich and famous, trusts are a surprisingly easy way to reduce Inheritance Tax.

Unfortunately, the Government-backed Child Trust Funds are no more, but it's worth checking your children don't already have one.

Pocket money is a way to pass on wealth (image: Shutterstock)

Drip feeding money to your kids

Pocket money isn't just a great way to teach your kids about money; it's a way to pass on wealth.

We've talked to the experts to come up with a guide to how much you should give, when, and how to give pocket money.

If your children are heading to university, there are several ways you can help them with the bills.

A trust can also help here, as you can set conditions on what gifted money is used for.

Further down the line, there are Inheritance Tax exemptions for gifts you make to your children on their wedding days. You'll need to plan ahead, however: find out more here.

Help your children buy property

Driven by sky-high property prices, the 'Bank of Mum and Dad' now lends more money than many UK high street banks.

The taxman has noticed this, so it's important not to get caught out when gifting or lending your child money.

Even if you can't afford to give your children a lump sum, you could still help them get a mortgage, often at no cost to yourself. Another option is letting your child live at home in order to save up, but charging them some rent could still help.

Or you could downsize to free up money, although this isn't a decision to be taken lightly

It's even possible to give your children your home, and continue living in it. We've got an expert guide to this potentially tricky area.

You could help your children get on the property ladder (image: Shutterstock)

Potentially Exempt Transfers

Don't let the dull name deceive you: a Potentially Exempt Transfer is the easiest way to not pay Inheritance Tax.

You can give away up to £325,000 each without being liable for any tax whatsoever.

There's one, slightly morbid condition: you'll need to live for another seven years, otherwise, it'll be subject to a sliding scale of Inheritance Tax.

Find out more about Potentially Exempt Transfers and how to make one here.

Writing a will

People tend to put off writing a will, but it's worth getting one done early and updating it often: our (middle aged) writer is on her third.

Here are a few ways to make a cheap or even free will.

In addition to deciding who gets what, you can also leave money to charity - with substantial tax benefits - or write a will with conditions to ensure the inheritance isn't wasted.

Wills can be an emotional subject, so it's important to be aware of the dangers of 'mirror wills', where your partner could potentially disinherit your loved ones. Consider how your will could be challenged: we've got an expert guide on how to make sure it's future-proof.

Also, have a look at our articles on Lasting Power of Attorney and putting your affairs in order, which can really help your loved ones.

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