Celebrity Deaths Highlight Inheritance Tax Woes

The recent series of shocking celebrity deaths - including Harry Potter star Sir John Hurt in late January - are a timely reminder that everyone should make solid financial plans before they pass away.

It has emerged that David Bowie left his $100m estate to his wife, Iman, and his two children. Carrie Fisher's $25million fortune will go to the Star Wars alumni's daughter Billie Lourde through a trust, while Wham legend George Michael's big sister Melanie will receive the bulk of his £105 million fortune.

However, not every celebrity who died left such a clear legacy. Much of Prince's estate could be lost to the taxman after it was revealed that the Purple Rain hitmaker made no plans for his $300million fortune.

And while you may not be famous, you might be richer than you thought, and it's important to pass on your estate to your loved ones as tax-efficiently as possible.

An increase in house prices has caught more ordinary families in the net of Inheritance Tax (IHT) charges. And Tayside solicitors' firm Miller Hendry is advising homeowners to seek out other methods of IHT planning if they want to minimise IHT due on their deaths.

Commented Leann Brown, a Senior Solicitor at the firm's Dundee office: "According to a leading financial services company, there was an estimated rise in 2016 to almost 500,000 millionaires in the UK. This looks set to soar further, reaching almost 600,000 millionaires by 2020, meaning more money for the treasury in the form of IHT charges."

"One way to minimise the IHT payable when you pass away is to utilise the new residential Nil Rate Band.

"This new tax free allowance relates to the family home and is set to be introduced in April 2017.

"This will start at £100,000 and will rise to £175,000 by 2020.

"By 2020, a married couple will be able to leave up to £1,000,000 before IHT is due.

"As you would expect, the rules surrounding the new residential Nil Rate Band are complicated!

"It is best to seek advice if you are concerned about how it affects you."

Posted 06/02/2017

For further advice or information on employment law or other legal issues, visit www.millerhendrysolicitors.co.uk

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