Inheritance tax 'not confined to rich'

Inheritance tax affects an increasingly wide range of people, one financial services firm has claimed.

Edward Jones has commented that rising house prices are making the tax a growing possibility for a rising number of people.

The firm also pointed out that in the event of a member of the family dying without making a will, legal complications can ensue, adding to the potential costs.

"It’s also wrong to assume on death everything passes to one’s nearest and dearest. This is often simply not the case," said financial adviser and stockbroker Alan Cook.

"But interests can easily be safeguarded by making a will and taking advice. It is simple, inexpensive and can also help limit any inheritance tax liability," he added.

Mr Cook said that many consumers are unaware of how much their estate amounts to and claimed that it is "very easy for an estate to be worth a lot more than the current £300,000 inheritance tax threshold".

His comments came after Gordon Brown was criticised in parliament for his stance on inheritance, with Liberal Democrat Julia Goldsworthy claiming that the tax increasingly affects people who consider their income to be ‘middling’.