Large numbers of Brits are oblivious to major changes to inheritance tax laws (IHT) introduced almost a year ago, according to Zurich.
The firm says consumers should seek estate planning advice to ensure they maximise the benefits of the new legislation.
Zurich’s research found 64% of consumers were unaware of the introduction of the ‘transferable nil rate band’, which allows couples to share their IHT allowances, despite its introduction in last year's pre-Budget report.
Younger people were more likely to be clueless on the transferable band, with 71% of those aged 35 to 44 unaware of the changes. However, more than half of those aged over 55 were also oblivious to the new laws.
Many of those surveyed were also unaware of how effective estate planning could significantly reduce their IHT liabilities; around 83% were unaware of rules surrounding trusts and 88% did not know about tax rules for gifts.
Paul Wright, investment management director at Zurich, says consumers should ensure they visit a financial adviser early on to ensure their beneficiaries receive cash and assets in a timely manner and without facing a huge tax bill should the worst happen.
“Planning what will happen to your estate sounds like a depressing thought, but what is even more depressing is what your estate can be subject to if you don't start planning now,” he says.
“At best, a lack of knowledge can significantly slow down the distribution of assets, at worst it can mean assets not reaching those who you would want to receive them.”
“We would encourage people to take a more holistic approach to financial planning and seek financial advice to help protect their assets in the long term, as well as making their money work harder today,” concludes Wright.
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