Inheritance Tax warning: Britons may feel ‘shortchanged’ as ‘blood is thicker than water’

This Morning: Martin Lewis gives advice on inheritance money

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Inheritance tax is just one facet of the administrative tasks family and friends will have to deal with after their loved one dies. It is hoped Britons will get their affairs in order before passing away to make it easier for those left behind. Unfortunately, though, disputes can often arise with regards to who actually receives an inheritance.

And this is particularly true when looking at Britons and their stepchildren.

Research has shown almost half of stepparents in the UK plan to exclude their stepchildren from their will, or deny them an inheritance.

The survey of 2,000 adults in the UK was undertaken by Tower Street Finance to examine people’s attitudes towards inheritance.

It showed 32 percent of stepparents currently have a will which does not treat their children and stepchildren equally.

In the same sense, 17 percent of stepparents admitted excluding their stepchildren from their wills altogether. 

The research makes clear that blood is thicker than water when it comes to inheritance, and as a result some should prepare to be potentially disappointed.

The issue is somewhat exacerbated, however, in specific areas of the country.

Research found stepparents in East Anglia are most likely to deny their stepchildren an inheritance out of anywhere in the country.

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This is as 33 percent of individuals living in this region said they had purposely left their stepchildren out of their last wishes.

Conversely, in Yorkshire and the Humber, stepchildren are the most likely to receive an inheritance with 83 percent of stepparents claiming they have already written them into their Will. 

Andrew Bartle, founder and managing director of inheritance specialist Tower Street Finance, commented on the matter to

He said: “Gone are the days of the nuclear family being the norm.

“Today, the blended family is the fastest growing type of household, recording an increase of three quarters over the last two decades according to the Office of National Statistics.

“But it’s not just stepparents intentionally cutting stepchildren out of an inheritance that stand to leave some stepchildren feeling short changed.

“Stepparents who fail to make a Will, just like 45 percent of the population, or who aren’t explicit in their desire for stepchildren to be included could inadvertently be leaving them out.

“Only a spouse, blood relative or adopted child inherit automatically under the rules of intestacy.”

Regardless of who inherits an estate, Inheritance Tax will be a key issue to consider.

The sum is charged on the value of an estate which falls above a particular threshold, usually £325,000.

At present, the rate of Inheritance Tax is set at 40 percent and must be paid promptly after a person passes away.

After this point, the sum can then be distributed to beneficiaries to ensure they receive the amount a person intended. 

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