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August 1, 2016 3:18 pm | This post was written by mmadigital | Posted in: Uncategorized


It was a misleading headline that claimed no couple with a combined estate of less than £1m should have to pay Inheritance tax.


Lorna Pinto, Solicitor in the Personal Legal Services Department, weighs up the arguments and answers your questions:


Inheritance tax (IHT) is charged on your death at the rate of 40% based on the value of your assets. This 40% rate is only charged on any value exceeding the nil rate band. The nil rate band (£325,000 in the tax year 2016-17) is the amount which is chargeable to IHT at the rate of 0%. From 6 April 2017, an additional residence nil rate band (RNRB) applies so that less IHT may be paid when the family home is left to children, grandchildren and some other individuals.

The terms of your will can affect the ability to claim the RNRB. Therefore it is important to review your will now (or make one if you have not already done so) to make sure that your family can claim the RNRB when you or your spouse or civil partner die.


The RNRB can be claimed on your estate if you die on or after 6 April 2017. Even if you die before then, your surviving spouse or civil partner may be able to carry forward RNRB to be used when they die.

Your estate will benefit from the RNRB, in addition to the main nil rate band, if you leave your interest in the family home to direct descendants such as children or grandchildren and some other individuals such as stepchildren or foster children as well as the spouses or civil partners of any of these (“qualifying beneficiaries”).

The transfer must be outright but certain other transfers into trust on death are permitted: for example, bare trusts, IPDI trusts, and 18-to-25 trusts and trusts for bereaved minors but not to grandchildren at18-25 or to discretionary trusts.

The transfer must be on death and can be made by will, under intestacy or as a result of the rule of survivorship.

The value of the RNRB will also be limited to the net value of the interest in the property (i.e. less mortgages or liabilities).

The RNRB could help those who inherit your assets make an additional IHT saving by increasing the part of your estate that is taxed at 0% rather than 40%. Claiming the RNRB could enable an additional £100,000 to £350,000-worth of assets to pass to the next generation without a charge to IHT.

The RNRB can be claimed if all of the following apply to you:

  • You die on or after 6 April 2017.
  • You leave an estate valued at less than an upper limit, which is initially £2 million but is set to rise with inflation from 6 April 2021. The RNRB is tapered down for estates worth more than this.
  • You leave your home to qualifying beneficiaries. Some trusts for these beneficiaries also qualify.If your estate is worth more than £2 million you should still review your will and estate planning to see whether it is possible to arrange your affairs so that the RNRB can be claimed. It is important not to underestimate the “before reliefs” part of this condition. It means you ignore business property relief and agricultural property relief, for example, which could make quite a difference.The table below shows the RNRB levels that the government has announced (which can be added to the main nil rate band to increase the amount of assets in your estate that will be taxed at 0%). The combined nil rate bands could be worth as much as £1 million by 2021. These figures may change so it is important to check from time to time.
  • How much is the RNRB worth?
  • Even if you die before 6 April 2017, or you leave your home to your spouse or civil partner rather than children or grandchildren, the RNRB is not necessarily wasted as it can be carried forward (together with any unused main nil rate band) for the benefit of your surviving spouse or civil partner.
Tax year RNRB Main nil rate band Combined nil rate bands for both spouses or civil partners
Before 2017-18 £100,000 (can be carried forward for surviving spouse or civil partner’s use). £325,000 £850,000
2017-18 £100,000 £325,000 £850,000
2018-19 £125,000 £325,000 £900,000
2019-20 £150,000 £325,000 £950,000
2020-21 £175,000 £325,000 £1,000,000


What if I do not own a home worth up to £350,000

Should you upsize if as a couple your home is worth less than £350,000 or as an individual your home is worth less than £175,000. Yes- if you wish to reap the full benefit of RNRB.

What if the first spouse to die does not own a home

This does not matter. It is the position at the time of death of the second spouse and whether there is a transferable RNRB.

What if I sell my home?

Under government proposals the RNRB will still be available where you have sold your home and downsized to a less valuable property, or even if you no longer own a property, provided that you sold your home on or after 8 July 2015 and at least part of your estate is inherited by a qualifying beneficiary.

What if I move out of my home?

The RNRB will apply if you own a property that is no longer your residence when you die (for example, because you have moved into a care home), provided that it was your residence at some time during your period of ownership.

What if I have given my home to my children already?

Even if you have already given away your home to your children, if you still benefit from the property in some way without paying for it, for example, you continue to occupy it even though it has been given away or if you are co-occupying with your children after having transferred it to them, it may still be possible to claim the RNRB on your death. However, it is still advisable to review your will.

What if my children do not want my home after I die?

It does not matter whether the qualifying beneficiaries who inherit your home want to keep it. The RNRB will still be available even if they sell your home immediately after your death.

What if I have more than one home?

If you own more than one property that is (or has previously been) your residence when you die, your executors must choose which one will benefit from the RNRB.


Review your will or make one

To ensure you maximise the tax-saving effect of the RNRB we strongly recommend that you review your will (or make a will if you don’t have one). The conditions for claiming the RNRB are complicated and you should seek expert advice to ensure that your family can benefit from the enhanced nil rate band when you or your spouse or civil partner die.

If you would like your estate to benefit from the RNRB please contact Lorna It is particularly important to be aware that your existing will may need to be updated to make maximum use of this new tax-saving measure.

It is advisable that any actions taken in relation to a property whether it is downsizing, gifting or selling should be documented in order for your executors to make the claim for the additional Residence Nil Rate Band with HMRC. Transactions in the form of a solicitor’s completion statement at the time of sale and/or purchase would be able to show the sale value and the value of any surplus to be passed on to direct descendants.

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