Do you pay inheritance tax on Life Insurance?
Making the decision to protect the future of your loved ones by getting the right Life Insurance policy is a brave, but sometimes daunting prospect. As with anything finance-related, the shadow of the taxman can loom over things, and the line between a Life Insurance policy and inherited wealth can be tricky to pin down.
But are Life Insurance proceeds taxable? How much is inheritance tax and does it apply here? Let’s take a look at how you can arrange cover for yourself while not only staying on the right side of the law, but also making things as efficient as possible for yourself and easiest for those nearest to you…
Is Life Insurance taxable?
That might seem like a fairly high point for the tax to kick in. But rising house prices combined with other assets like savings, investments and even family heirlooms can quickly stack up to the point where even average families might be liable.
Most Life Insurance policies count as part of the estate you leave behind for your loved ones. A way to avoid this is to make sure your policy is written ‘in trust.’ Most people have at least heard of trust funds, and Life Insurance written in this way follows the same principles.
What is Life Insurance written in trust?
Having your policy written in trust is also faster to pay out, as there’s no need to wait until probate is granted before loved ones can receive the funds. With policies not written in trust, the probate process can take months in cases where people die without leaving a will.
As well as being faster, the process of having your policy written in trust can also be a lot more streamlined. The sheer number of IHT forms involved in a policy paying out in this way, along with the working hours and professionals needed to process them can make it a complex process.
Things to bear in mind
The majority of Life Insurance policies aren’t written in trust, in fact only about 6% are, so it’s something worth exploring early in the discussion if you think it might benefit you. If you already have Life Insurance with us and want to transfer it into trust, we have an online tool for putting your Life Insurance into trust on our site which you might find useful.
That being said, if writing Life Insurance in trust to avoid inheritance tax was automatically the best choice, that 6% would be much higher. There are factors to bear in mind before making an informed decision.
For example, while you may dodge the minefield that is navigating IHT, trusts are still complicated legal entities and come with their own jargon and concepts to get your head around.
Also, once a policy is written or transferred into trust, you (‘the settlor’) do not retain control. Yes, you can dictate the terms of the trust, such as who is paid what amount under what conditions. But once transferred to the trustees (normally the policyholder is automatically a trustee), it’s very unlikely that these terms can be changed and almost certain that the process cannot be cancelled. A policyholder should always read through the particular trust they are using.
With that in mind, it’s important to get the right advice (both on taxes and law) and ensure the terms of your trust are clearly defined and provide the best possible protection for your loved ones once the time comes for the trust to pay out to its beneficiaries.
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Get the right Life Insurance from Beagle Street
There are all sorts of ways to make sure your Life Insurance pays out in as efficient a way as possible. The first step is to get in touch with us for a totally obligation-free, quick quote in less than 60 seconds.
Your next decisions:
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Check out our collection of handy guide pages to help answer any further questions you may have about Life Insurance.