The estate of someone whose death was caused by an injury or disease received or aggravated whilst he or she was on active service with the UK armed forces is exempt from Inheritance Tax, (IHT), yet many relatives or friends carrying out probate on an estate may be unaware of this warns law firm Adams & Remers.
In a recent case, a chance comment made by a relative has saved the estate a £330k IHT bill as the former Wren died from Mesothelioma which had been caused during her WW2 years spent working in buildings constructed of asbestos.
Doug Murray, probate manager at Adams & Remers comments: “In this particular case the deceased was an elderly lady and nothing had been mentioned about the cause of her death when we took on the probate for her estate. It was only when discussing her death certificate and the unusual cause of death that her wartime past came out. The family were completely unaware that her estate would be considered IHT free as so many years had passed since her wartime service. Unfortunately in this case the deceased had suffered many years of ill health due to her exposure to asbestos which could have only been caused during the war as she never worked outside the home after the war as she raised her family.”
Doug Murray continues: “This exemption is complicated to deal with and certain conditions must be satisfied in order for HM Revenue and Customs to grant an IHT exemption. It may also be possible to backdate a claim if the executors were unaware of this exemption. The deceased must have been a member of the armed forces or certain associated services. Their death must have been caused by injury or disease received or aggravated while they were on active service or service of a warlike nature and a valid certificate must be presented.”
Doug Murray concludes: “One of the downsides of families handling probate themselves is that they may miss an important exemption such as this, so if in doubt take professional advice.”