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Life insurance can help to mitigate IHT exposure, which may exist in any of the following scenarios:

  • IHT is payable at 40% on assets above a nil-rate-band of GBP 325,000 or GBP 650,000 for a couple
  • It is payable by UK domiciled and deemed domiciled individuals on worldwide assets and non-domiciled individuals on UK situs assets
  • IHT is due on all UK property regardless of any structure, even for non-UK resident individuals
  • Gifts are generally treated as potentially exempt transfers, but if the donor dies within seven years, the gift may be taxable
  • Where beneficiaries are young and/or gifting is not appropriate
  • Life insurance is often cheaper than IHT

Where estates contain substantial assets, such as family businesses and landed estates, equalisation between beneficiaries can be problematic. A life insurance policy can be gifted to one beneficiary, ensuring other assets remain in place and beneficiaries receive a cash benefit at the point of death.