IHT problems for unmarried couples

Co-habiting couples who are not married or in civil partnerships are not entitled to the same inheritance tax (IHT) benefits as those who are, a firm of independent financial advisors has warned.

Alex Pegley, director of Calculis, said that there is no such thing as a 'common law marriage' achieved by simply living together for a period of time.

As such, rights regarding separation and IHT do not exist for unmarried couples.

Mr Pegley advised: "There is no such thing as common law marriages, it's just a term and it's not legally accepted.

"Whilst it might seem unfair that's how it is," he advised.

Rather than disagreeing with the principle, Mr Pegley said that people should simply "accept the way things are and deal with it" through taking financial advice.

Solicitors in Northern Ireland can advise on IHT and other tax issues as well as offering services for couples who are separating.

If an estate passes to a spouse or civil partner then there is no IHT charge, even if the total value is above the £312,000 threshold.

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