This thisismoney.co.uk article highlights a rather grim milestone where inheritance tax (IHT) receipts by the UK government have now reached their highest level on record in a single month.  The reason for this is clearly the devastating impact the Covid pandemic has had on the population.  

However, another reason for the rise is that for successive years the IHT exempt amount, known as the nil rate band, has been frozen whilst property prices in particular in the UK have risen dramatically. I would anticipate that this trend will continue as estates generally pay IHT some months after the date of death and the recent SDLT holiday has led to a further localised boom in property prices.

It may well be that the IHT taxation position of a number of such estates was exacerbated as any deaths during this period where a Will was not in place, or was in place but had not been reviewed for some time, might well have triggered the requirement to pay IHT that would otherwise have been avoided.  

It is also apparent that another side-effect of the pandemic is that significant assets will now be being passed from one generation to the younger generation.  Indeed this quite plausibly may be occurring far earlier than anticipated and could well leave significant sums in the hands of those potentially not ready to receive such wealth.  If anything this sad chapter underlines the importance of open family discussions and timely professional planning regarding business succession, asset protection and the best way to implement inheritance wishes.