When famous actor Rik Mayall died last June intestate (without a Will), his family had to pay an unexpected inheritance tax bill. With an estate valued at £1.2 million, the family of Rik Mayall are facing an IHT liability of up to £60,000. With this mind, it is also important to note that you do not need to be a wealthy celebrity to leave your family with an unexpected and unnecessary IHT bill.
According to research conducted from Macmillan Cancer Support, an estimated 1 million Britons have had a serious family argument after a relative passed away without leaving a Will. Out of these 1 million Brits, nearly a fifth had said that the row had gone on to break up the family.
It seems however, that despite the dangers of dying intestate, almost 6 out of 10 UK adults have failed to set out exactly how they want their estate to be divided once they pass away. The main reason given for this was that they "just never got round to it".
In addition to the research conducted, 1 in 3 people who have already written a Will failed to include something they had promised to a loved one. Many have argued that dying intestate can also pile financial stress onto grief. Making a Will does not have to be expensive but it essential in helping to avoid family breakdowns and legal issues once you pass away.
In terms of IHT payments, research from the website Unbiased.co.uk has shown that Britons wasted £550 million in 2015 on unnecessary IHT payments by failing to make plans. Many have suggested that this vast amount of wasted money is due to a combination of an improving economy and rising house prices which may have resulted in more estates exceeding the £325,000 threshold.
Yet to come into force however, during the 2015 general election, the Tories pledged a new allowance relating to family homes which will effectively take the IHT threshold per couple to £1 million. Currently, everybody can leave £325,000 worth of assets tax-free. Anything above this amount will incur a 40% tax.
To find out more about making a Will or about Inheritance Tax simply click here.