Inheritance and tax planning solicitors

Taxes are one certainty in life, and they apply in death too. Our solicitors can help you with estate and tax planning so you can maximise your loved one’s inheritance.

Inheritance and tax planning

Planning ahead allows you to set out who should inherit what assets from your estate. Our solicitors can help you to think through your plans and their financial impact. Our aim is to ensure that your loved ones are cared for when you can no longer do so.

Although thinking about life after your death may be difficult, it is simply taking care of your family. Planning your estate allows you to consider IHT reliefs and exemptions and to manage your assets in the most tax-efficient way.

Making a Will

Making a Will can reduce the inheritance tax (IHT) your loved ones pay.

Without a Will, the rules of intestacy apply, which can mean a greater inheritance tax bill. For example, under the law, a spouse or civil partner does not pay inheritance tax on assets left to them. However, without a Will in place, children may receive a greater share of the assets. Children are liable for IHT, so the tax bill is increased. This could reduce the children’s inheritance in the long run as the total assets are reduced.


Placing some of your assets in trust is another way to cut inheritance tax. This is an area requiring expert legal advice.

Transferring tax-free allowances

Everybody is entitled to a nil rate band (NRB) for inheritance tax. When assets pass from a spouse or civil partner, they are exempt from IHT. That means if somebody dies and leaves all their assets to their spouse or civil partner, they will not have used their NRB allowance.

The NRB that has not been used can be transferred to the surviving spouse or civil partner, reducing IHT when they die.

Lifetime gifts

Any assets you give away to loved ones are exempt from inheritance tax if you live for at least seven years after you have made the gifts.

Gifts with a value up to £3,000 in any one tax year are inheritance tax free even if you die within seven years of making them.

Some gifts are free from inheritance tax in all circumstances. No IHT is payable on gifts to spouses and civil partners, and you can give £5,000 to your child for their wedding. Gifts to political parties and charities are also free from IHT.

Charitable donations

Leaving gifts to charity can reduce the tax your loved ones will pay on your estate. Your donation will either be subtracted from the value of your estate before IHT is calculated or reduce your IHT rate if you leave 10% or more to charity.

Donations can be in the form of items, a fixed amount of money, or what is left after your Will's beneficiaries have received their shares.

Business succession

With meticulous planning, shares in a family business can be passed on to other members of the family without incurring IHT.

Shares can be placed in trust. If the donor of the shares lives more than seven years after they have placed the shares in trust, they will fall outside of the donor’s estate. By falling outside of the estate, they are not liable for IHT.

If the shares still form part of a person’s estate at the date of death, and the assets qualify for business property relief (BPR), then there may be no IHT to pay, or the bill may be significantly reduced. That is because BPR reduces the taxable value of business assets by 50% or 100%.

To receive BPR, assets must have been owned by the donor for two or more years before their death. Not all business assets qualify for BPR. Our solicitors at Davisons can advise you.

Inheritance tax returns

The executor or administrator of an estate is responsible for filing an inheritance tax return when the testator (maker) of a Will dies.

The person responsible for filing the tax return has a legal responsibility to make sure it is accurate, accompanied by the correct documents and filed on time. IHT must be paid by the end of the sixth month after death.

HMRC received £5.4 billion in IHT payments in the 2020-21 tax year.

If you need help filing an inheritance tax return, our solicitors can guide you through all the steps and ensure all forms are completed correctly.

Appealing a HMRC decision

It is vital that inheritance tax returns are filed correctly because the HMRC can, and often do, check on estate valuations. If the HMRC asks you to provide further information about an estate, it is best to seek legal advice.

If you wish to appeal the HMRC’s decision on an inheritance tax issue, our specialist solicitors can represent you in negotiations and present the strongest evidence to support your case.

Have a question or need some help?

Davisons inheritance and tax planning solicitors

Our solicitors specialising in inheritance tax make financial planning simple, and we always use plain English. We can help you to manage your affairs in the most tax-efficient and practical way.

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