What if you had died yesterday?

There’s no escaping this highly sensitive topic – death. It comes to us all eventually. However I’d like to take a different approach to this topic in relation to your financial planning, it will be a short series that I hope will be of value to you and yours.

Can I first of all challenge you to simply have a look through the HMRC (Inland Revenue) form called IHT400. It is the starting point for those charged with administering your estate. Yes I am serious. However far off death hopefully is, what if you’d been hit by the proverbial bus yesterday? Who would pick up this task and how do you expect them to complete it? Here is the link (open a new window – so that you don’t leave this page).


OK, assuming that your estate does need to be reported (i.e. worth more than £325,000) and you moved past the double-speak, does anything strike you?

Stating the obvious…

I’m not going to approach this line by line, but to highlight some basic points. Whoever has to complete this form has a huge task ahead of them… perhaps you have done this for someone else already?… I have several times. The guidance notes document that accompanies IHT400 runs to nearly 100 pages…. the NOTES!

So let’s face a few key facts

  • You have 12 months to complete the form
  • After 6 months interest is charged
  • You need a lot of personal information, matters of record – marriages, births, deaths
  • You probably need a family tree
  • You need tax information, NI number, tax reference etc
  • You need a valid Will
  • You need a list of gifts and disposals
  • All banking information, investments, pensions and life assurance
  • All assets on a worldwide basis
  • All liabilities and debt
  • Details about Trusts and exemptions
  • Details of your income and expenses for the last 7 years
  • There are another subsequent 21 forms IHT401-IHT430

If experience has taught me anything, it’s that getting most people to put this sort of information together isn’t easy – because it’s an arduous, daunting task. Yet this is what we leave others to do for us in a time of stress. Yes a solicitor can do this for you, but actually most, if not all of the information is within your possession, it’s simply that it’s not easy to extract or perhaps understand.

Who else has this information? well…. we do… if you have kept us up to date…. which is one of the many reasons for requesting it. So… imagine that yesterday was your last. You are not here to tell your loved ones and/or Executors where everything is neatly filed (!)…. so where to begin? may I suggest we address this now? You could even start by printing off IHT400 and putting in some of the information you already know…. you can see where I’m going with this can’t you.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk