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Inheritance sums decline as more adults opt for lifetime giving

31 Oct 2013

The value of traditional inheritance lump sums is falling as older generations choose to give away more of their wealth during their lifetime, new research suggests.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), nearly one in 10 over-55s regularly give money to family members in order to avoid a potential inheritance tax bill. A further 20% of those studied said they would do the same if they could afford to do so.

Experts claim older generations are also giving away more money to help their children deal with costs such as university fees, or to assist them to purchase their first property.

‘It is implied that the inheritance they were planning to leave will be compromised as they are choosing to dip into their savings and give money to younger family members while they are still alive,’ said a spokesman for the ONS.

The data reveals that some 3.6% of UK adults – or 1.6 million – received an inheritance valued at more than £1,000 in a two-year period. Of this figure, more than half of inheritors received less than £10,000.

However, one tenth is believed to have inherited a sum of £125,000 or more.

The ONS found that nearly half of inheritances (46.8%) came from a parent or parent-in-law, whilst 22.5% came from grandparents. Perhaps surprisingly, just over one in 10 inheritances (11.1%) were bequeathed by an uncle or aunt.

We can advise on strategies to help keep your inheritance tax liability to a minimum – please contact us for advice tailored to your circumstances.