Estates 'regularly exceed IHT threshold'

Inheritance tax could impact upon many more people than expect to pay following the loss of a loved one, a financial adviser has suggested.

Simon Botfield of Edward Jones, a stock market investment service, has suggested that many people do not appreciate the full value of their estate, which often extends significantly beyond the obvious residence and savings assets.

"Many people don’t realise how much their estate can amount to once everything is taken into account house, car, possessions, business interests, savings, shares, jewellery and so on," Mr Botfield asserted

Tax is currently charges at 40 per cent for all assets exceeding a £300,000 threshold, which the combined value of such assets can easily exceed.

Mr Botfield also reminded consumers that the common assumption that all assets are passed to the nearest and dearest following a death is often not the case.

"But interests can easily be safeguarded by making a will and taking advice," he continued.

"It is simple, inexpensive and can also help limit any inheritance tax liability."

In this year’s budget, chancellor Gordon Brown announced his intention that the threshold for inheritance tax should be increased to £350,000 by 2010.