If you leave everything to your husband, wife or civil partner there usually won’t be any Inheritance Tax to pay because a husband, wife or civil partner counts as an ‘exempt beneficiary’. But bear in mind that their estate will be worth more when they die, so more Inheritance Tax may have to be paid then.
However, if you are domiciled (have your permanent home) in the UK when you die but your spouse or civil partner isn’t you can only leave them £55,000 tax-free.
You can leave up to £325,000 tax-free to anyone in your will, not just your spouse or civil partner (tax year 2012-13). So you could, for example, give some of your estate to someone else or a family trust. On any amount you leave above this, Inheritance Tax is payable at a rate of either:
- 40 per cent
- 36 per cent, if 10 per cent or more of the net estate is left to charity
Inheritance Tax isn’t payable on any money or assets you leave to a ‘qualifying’ charity – these transfers are exempt.