Case Study: Inheritance tax planning doesn't need to be complicated

31st July 2015

Case Study: Inheritance tax planning doesn't need to be complicated

We receive regular questions from our clients and one common one is a concern that inheritance tax planning is too complicated. We therefore thought it may be useful to provide a case study to see how our sister company, The Private Office, have recently helped one of our clients.


Mary is approaching retirement after a long career in the legal sector and her husband, Alan, works as a chemical engineer.

The couple have a range of cash holdings and investments together with Mary’s pension fund of around £550,000. They own their home in Devon and they have 3 daughters. Their total joint wealth is around £2.3m.


Mary and Alan are existing clients of Savings Champion's cash management service and in conversation with their adviser, Philip Irwin-Brown, it was discussed that due to their impending change in circumstance that they would benefit from a discussion with our sister company, The Private Office LLP.

As with all potential clients Nigel Yeo, Partner of the Private Office LLP, had an initial meeting without obligation to either party. This allowed Mary and Alan a chance to understand how the Private Office works in partnership with their clients and how they charge their fees. It also gave Nigel the opportunity to ascertain that Mary and Alan would benefit from his advice.

Mary and Alan agreed that they would benefit from a 'spring clean' of their finances and Nigel agreed to undertake this on a fixed fee basis. In reviewing their situation, The Private Office considered Mary and Alan’s total wealth and income to establish if their target income could be met and to identify if there was 'surplus'  funds that could be used to help their daughters.


Mary and Alan would like to help their daughters get onto the property ladder but are unsure how best to go about it and want to plan for the future so that their daughters are not burdened with inheritance tax.

Their joint income requirement is £4,000 per month.


The planning identified a surplus of £300,000 that has now been set aside to provide £100,000 to each daughter to help get them get onto the property ladder. Once the gifts are made, they will fall outside of Mary and Alan’s estate after seven years.

Nigel also conducted an audit of Mary’s pension schemes, which identified that two of them have not adopted the new pensions freedom rules and therefore should be reviewed to make sure that she holds a scheme that allows her pensions to potentially pass tax free to the girls on her death.

Mary & Alan were also introduced to a lawyer to rewrite their Wills so that some funds will go straight to charity on their death – this was particularly important to them, but only truly came to light after the initial discussion with Nigel.


The action taken should ensure that Mary & Alan’s estate will be under £2m, which means that they will benefit from the new enhanced nil rate band rules, following the Budget in July 2015.

The process was not complicated and critically Mary and Alan have achieved their financial goals with the peace of mind that they have a trusted partner that has helped them make informed decisions.

Next Steps

If you have questions in relation to your personal financial circumstances please call Claire Riou on 0800 321 3581 or email [email protected]

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