Inheritances twice 1997 level

More people are liable to inheritance tax (IHT) bills as the average value of an inherited estate has risen to more than twice its 1997 level, according to a new study.

The International Longevity Centre (ILC) has found that the average worth of an inherited estate has risen from its 1997 level of £21,000 to £44,000 in 2007.

The value of inheritances among the wealthy has risen more sharply than the sum of those in lower socio-economic groups, the ILC reported.

Average estates left by the wealthy have gone from £24,000 to £40,000 in comparison with an increase of £3,000 among the less well-off from £13,000 to £16,000.

Some three per cent of the managerial and professional classes receive some form of inheritance each year, compared to 1.5 per cent among manual and unskilled workers, the ILC found.

Solicitors in Northern Ireland can offer advice on reducing tax burdens and ensuring that relatives gain as much of an estate as possible.

IHT is liable at a rate of 40 per cent on the value of estates over £312,000.

Therefore inheritors of an estate worth £500,000 would have to pay an IHT bill of £75,200.

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