Beware International Inheritance Tax Changes! Review Your Will Now29th Sep 2015
Owning property abroad was once the preserve of the wealthy: a villa on the Côte d’Azur, a ski chalet in Klosters.
Not so anymore. Now holiday homes on sunscorched costas or in the hills of Tuscany are within reach of the average family.
So it’s more likely now that Britons will own property outside the UK – especially as more people are marrying (or cohabiting with) partners who originate from another country.
You may have a house in the UK; your spouse may own a second property back in their own country.
And now a new EU law has moved the inheritance tax goalposts by stipulating that the country where you die determines which nation’s inheritance tax (IHT) rules will apply to your will.
In theory, the UK has opted out of the new rules but the reality is that they could still have an impact.
If you don’t want English law to apply to assets held in a country that has opted in to the new rules, you need to change your will to make that clear.
You should also back it up with an accompanying letter of wishes to your solicitors. You should outline the reasons behind your decisions to add further weight in case of possible legal challenges.
This new EU rule demonstrates how vital it is to review your will regularly.
And how important it is to get expert help from a specialist inheritance tax solicitor.
So many people draft their will then tuck it away in a drawer and forget about it, believing that their job is done.
Significant rule changes like this new EU inheritance law prove it is not. Vigilance is essential if you are to avoid paying too much inheritance tax – in Britain or any other country.
Worried that your will may be out of date? Anxious about IHT? Contact wills solicitor Stuart Bradford who is based at Coles Miller’s Poole and Wimborne offices.