Inheritance tax is the tax on the estate (the property, money, and possessions of someone who has died)

If you own property, or other assets, it is important that you think about the value of your estate and the tax implications that may be associated with it. At Stephenson Smart we have a specialist tax team, all of whom are chartered accountants and experts in providing inheritance tax planning services. Our partner Claire Melton is also a member of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

With careful planning, guided by a professional, you will be able to ensure that your estate is left to those you wish it to be, and may be able to avoid leaving them a tax burden. We can also help you with what to do if you inherit money or get left a house in a will.

Spouse or civil partners

There is no inheritance tax relief that affects a greater number of people than the spouse or civil partner exemption. It removes a large proportion of estates from the inheritance tax charge and is of major importance in estate planning. The exemption means that all assets passing on death to a surviving spouse or civil partner, or given by lifetime gift, are exempt from inheritance tax, if the couple are both UK domiciled.

It is also possible to give gifts and transfer assets while you are still alive, to alleviate the value of your estate on death.
We can review your estate (or the estate of family members), establish your likely exposure to inheritance tax and propose both short and long-term strategies to mitigate tax liability.

Specialising in the use of trusts, lifetime transfers and careful will planning, our team can ensure the transfer of your estate to your family and dependants is as trouble-free and tax efficient as possible. We can also advise you on the benefits of leaving part of your estate to charity – another opportunity to reduce the rate at which inheritance tax is payable.

The benefits of using an inheritance tax specialist:

  • Expert knowledge in gifting and transferring assets.
  • Full understanding of the reliefs and exemptions available.
  • Assistance with informing HMRC of any liabilities.
  • Expert advice on inheritance tax planning and compliance.
Inheritance Tax

The inheritance tax planning service we provide is:


Our teams are fully qualified and experienced, to provide you with an efficient and personal service.


As chartered accountants and tax advisors, and a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, we know the laws relating to inheritance tax and are fully qualified to advise you on what you need to pay.


The advice and support we can offer you will give you the peace of mind that you are managing your inheritance tax affairs properly.

Inheritance Tax
Inheritance Tax

As specialists in inheritance and succession planning, STEP members draft wills and trusts, administer estates, act as trustees and advise families on how best to structure their finances to ensure compliance and preserve their assets for future generations. To become qualified, practitioners must have a combination of specialist qualifications and experience, including significant involvement at a specialist level with inheritance and succession planning.

The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners

Inheritance Tax

As part of our inheritance tax service, we provide:

  • Accurate and informed inheritance tax advice.
  • Understanding of the creation and uses of trusts and lifetime transfers.
  • A full review of your estate (or that of family members).
  • An assessment of your likely tax liabilities.
  • A strategy to manage your inheritance tax liabilities.
  • Advice on estate charitable giving and legacies.
  • Probate and estate services in relation to wills.

Estate planning can be complicated, and exemptions and reliefs are subject to change. We have advisors across Norfolk and Cambridgeshire who can help you with your inheritance tax planning, or with support if you are the beneficiary of a will.


If the value of the estate is below £325,000, there is normally no inheritance tax to pay. In many circumstances, there is also an additional main residence nil rate band of £175,000 that can be used.
In most circumstances, if a residential property is given to someone else before the owner dies it will be classed as a potentially exempt transfer (PET). However, the beneficiary must survive for a period of seven years for the exemption to stand. Also, you must consider you will no longer be allowed to benefit from the home if you wish it to be excluded from your estate for inheritance tax purposes.
If a gift is transferred to a beneficiary, the benefactor (person giving the gift) must survive for seven years after the gift is transferred for it to not be considered part of their estate on death. If the benefactor dies within seven years, the gift may use up some or all of the benefactor’s nil rate band and may be subject to inheritance tax, as part of the estate.