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Brits face inheritance tax shock

An increasing number of Brits are ignoring advice to protect themselves against inheritance tax (IHT) - and could face a bill that will shock them in the event of the death of a loved one as a result. Research conducted by ICM on behalf of Bradford & Bingley found that almost two thirds of Britons (61 per cent) have not taken advice on how to minimise the amount of IHT they will be liable to pay, and 28 per cent have no idea that they will not be able to pay the bill from their inheritance, because they do not realise that the tax must be paid before the estate can be released.These latest figures are a cause for concern, because an ever-growing number of people are liable for IHT, although many have no idea, because they underestimate their wealth.With the average UK property now worth £218,479, more and more estates are hitting the £300,000 IHT threshold when savings, life cover, shares, jewellery and cars are taken into consideration, but only 32 per cent of Britons believe their estate would be liable for the tax.Andrew Stead, head of wealth at Bradford & Bingley, commented on the findings: "Despite the avalanche of column inches in recent years on the importance of planning for IHT, too many Britons are burying their heads in the sand and failing to take advice about how best to plan their estate. "This could mean 40 per cent of everything owned over and above £300,000 bypassing loved ones on their death and instead going straight to the Inland Revenue."While it's no surprise that planning for death is not at the top of most Britons' to-do list, by seeking advice about how to mitigate against IHT and planning their finances in a tax-efficient way, people can protect their hard-earned assets and protect their families from the burden of financial uncertainty in the future."

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