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Inheritance tax is a concern for many individuals in the United Kingdom who wish to pass on their wealth to their loved ones. Fortunately, there are legal and strategic ways to minimize the impact of inheritance tax. One such method is by establishing a trust. A trust can be an effective tool for reducing inheritance tax liabilities while ensuring the efficient transfer of assets to beneficiaries. In this blog post, we will explore how a trust can help cut inheritance tax in the UK.

What is a trust?

In a trust, the settlor transfers legal ownership of assets, such as money, property, investments, or personal belongings, to the trust. The trustee then manages and controls those assets according to the terms and instructions outlined in the trust deed. The trust deed is the legal document that establishes the trust. It outlines how the assets should be distributed and when, as well as any specific conditions or restrictions. Trusts can serve various purposes, including estate planning, asset protection, charitable giving, and managing assets for minors or individuals who may not have the capacity to handle their own financial affairs.

Understanding inheritance tax

Inheritance tax is a tax levied on the estate of a deceased individual above a certain threshold. The current inheritance tax threshold in the UK is £325,000 per persons estate. Anything above this threshold is subject to inheritance tax at a rate of 40%. It is important to note that inheritance tax laws may be subject to change, and it is always advisable to consult with a tax professional for up-to-date information. This also varies from country to country. Please read our other blog about how inheritance laws and rates differs from country to country.

How a trust can help with your estate

  1. Utilising the nil-rate band. By setting up a trust, you can take advantage of the nil-rate band for each individual beneficiary. This means that if you have multiple beneficiaries, the trust can allocate portions of your estate to each of them. This effectively multiplies the available threshold. This strategy can significantly reduce the amount of inheritance tax payable on your estate.
  2. Lifetime gifting. Placing assets into a trust during your lifetime can be an effective way to reduce your estate’s value for inheritance tax purposes. You can make gifts to the trust, either as a lump sum or regular contributions. These assets will be excluded from your estate after seven years. This approach allows you to gradually transfer assets to your beneficiaries while potentially eliminating the tax burden.
  3. Trusts and exemptions. Certain types of trusts, such as charitable trusts and qualifying interest in possession trusts, can provide additional tax advantages. Charitable trusts, for instance, can be used to support charitable causes while also reducing the taxable value of your estate. Understanding the different types of trusts and their tax implications is crucial when devising an effective inheritance tax plan.
  4. Spousal exemption. Transferring assets to a trust established for the benefit of your spouse is another way to mitigate inheritance tax. The transfer is exempt from tax, effectively deferring the tax liability until your spouse’s death. This arrangement allows you to ensure the financial security of your spouse while reducing the overall inheritance tax burden on your estate.

Consulting with professionals

When it comes to inheritance tax planning and setting up trusts, it is advisable to seek guidance from experienced professionals such as tax advisors, estate planners, and solicitors. These experts can provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances and help you navigate the complex tax laws effectively.


Inheritance tax can erode a substantial portion of your estate, but with careful planning and the use of trusts, you can significantly reduce the tax burden while ensuring the smooth transfer of assets to your beneficiaries. By utilizing the nil-rate band, making lifetime gifts, and considering different types of trusts, you can effectively cut inheritance tax liabilities in the UK. It is crucial to stay informed about current tax regulations and consult with professionals to develop a comprehensive inheritance tax strategy that aligns with your goals and objectives. For more articles like this please follow us on LinkedIn.

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