The basics of Inheritance Tax
As a single individual, when you die and leave an estate – the total monetary value of most of the things you own on the date of your death – worth more than £325,000, your estate pays inheritance tax (IHT) at 40% on anything above the £325,000 nil-rate band threshold.
This can be a considerable burden on those you wish to inherit as they must pay the tax before accessing your estate.
There are some reliefs and allowances available to reduce your inheritance tax bill. If you’re married or in a civil partnership and leave your entire estate to your surviving spouse/civil partner, the survivor can use your £325,000 allowance as well as their own, effectively allowing them to pass on £650,000 tax free to whomever they wish to inherit.
There’s also an additional allowance for people passing on their family home, known as the main residence nil-rate band. This is set at £175,000 per person and works in the same way as above if you are married or in a civil partnership. This means that if you own your own house and are married or in a civil partnership you shouldn’t have any inheritance tax to pay unless your joint estate is worth over £1,000,000.