Canada Life have recently published their IHT Survey for 2016 and it makes for some very interesting reading.

  • Only a 25% of wealthy Brits have sought professional estate planning advice to ensure their families don’t pay more tax than they have to.
  • Over 25% don’t have a will and just 1 in 5 have given money away.
  • Many say they do not need these tools but families would face substantial inheritance tax (IHT) bills without any planning.

Wealthy Brits over the age of 45 are currently not motivated to do any estate planning that could help them to pass on more of their estate to their families, according to Canada Life’s annual IHT survey.*

The research speaks for itself finding that over a quarter (27 per cent) of those aged 45 or over with enough assets to incur a potential IHT bill, do not have a Will. This will leave their generational plans unclear and meaning their wealth could pass to relatives they did not intend to provide for under intestacy rules.

Another simple and effective estate planning strategy is to gift money to relatives, but just a fifth of respondents had done so –– with over half (51 per cent) saying they don’t see a need.

One of the main reasons that simple estate planning tools are being ignored by people with enough wealth to benefit from them is a lack of understanding that could easily be rectified by better use of financial advice. However, Canada Life’s research found that just 27 per cent of wealthy Brits over the age of 45 have sought professional advice on IHT planning.



This is despite the fact their families could face higher than expected IHT bills as a result and illustrates a widespread failure to look to the future and plan adequately.

Opinions of wealthy split on usefulness of other inheritance tax planning tools

Most popular estate planning tools Most unpopular estate planning tools
(% of consumers that have used them) (% of consumers that have no intention of using them)
Writing a will


Take out life insurance


Take out life insurance


Setting up a trust


Gifting money


Gifting money


Setting up a trust


Writing a will


Base: 1,001 UK consumers aged 45 or over with assets exceeding £325,000

Almost half (46 per cent) of respondents said they would never take out life insurance as part of their estate planning. Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) said they didn’t see a need to use life insurance, suggesting a lack of understanding of how this can be a successful estate planning tool and that greater education is needed from professional advisers.

Trusts were the second most unpopular strategy, with 40 per cent saying they had no intention of using them.

Nineteen per cent said setting up a trust was too time consuming or complicated when, in reality, it is a straightforward inheritance tax planning strategy and presents an opportunity for advisers to discuss this with their clients.

However, a significant minority (13 per cent) said they have used them, showing that these continue to be an important part of estate planning for people who want to pass on their wealth in a controlled manner.

Almost one in ten wouldn’t seek advice

This is concerning when you consider the amount of money some expect to leave. 43% of respondents expected to leave an inheritance of over £500,000, which exceeds the current individual IHT threshold and would lead those who fail to plan ahead with substantial tax bills for their families. One in ten would leave an inheritance of £1m or more and would therefore benefit significantly from some form of estate planning.

This article is and extract from a Canada Life article first published on the 20th January 2017.

* Survey of 1,001 UK consumers aged 45 or over with total assets exceeding the individual inheritance tax threshold (nil rate band) of £325,000. Carried out in September 2016. Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding or multiple answer questions. Research conducted by Atomik.

Action call

If you inheritance tax planning is of importance to you, get in contact with us today. We may be able to help you avoid any unnecessary problems in the future.

If you or your family would like to talk us about your financial plans for future, please get in touch for a no-obligation meeting. Go to our website and contact us via our “Get in touch” form on our home page or Contact Martin Dodd on 01902 742221.

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It is advisable to take advice from a professional financial adviser when making major financial decisions.

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This article has been prepared in good faith and based on Midlands Investment Agency’s understanding of the law and interpretation thereof at the time of creation. The contents should not be regarded as specific advice and we always recommend that specific advice is sort from a qualified professional. No responsibility can be accepted by Martin Dodd or Midlands Investment Agency Ltd., for any loss that may occur by a person acting or refraining from acting on the basis of this article.