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Why Women Are Receiving Higher Inheritance Tax Bills Than Men

Inheritance Tax (IHT) can be a confusing subject, especially if you aren’t familiar with the various rules and regulations involved in estate planning. However, it is vital that you make plans for what happens to your estate in the event of your death, as without this you may end up paying more inheritance tax than necessary.

A recent study carried out by Fidelity International has shown that women are increasingly receiving higher IHT bills than their male counterparts. Their research showed that although 53% of women they surveyed are planning to leave inheritance to their loved ones, 55% were less likely to seek financial advice prior to doing so, compared with 41% of men.

The lack of women seeking financial advice regarding the distribution of their estates means that many end up paying more IHT than necessary, and subsequently don’t have their wishes fulfilled.

In a survey of 2000 UK adults conducted between 28th June and 2nd July 2020/21 by Opinium, 37% of women surveyed said that they didn’t understand the financial rules surrounding IHT, compared to 25% of men.

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that women accrue more wealth than men when it comes to estates liable for taxation, partly owed to the fact that they have a longer life expectancy. ONS figures also show that the net capital value of estates owned by women is approximately £13.6 billion, compared to £12.3 billion for men. Consequently, female-owned estates are liable for approximately £430 million more in IHT than ones owned by men (£2.53 billion compared to £2.1 billion).

This means that a lack of financial planning leads to large amounts of money being unnecessarily paid in IHT. However, there are things you can do to plan for your estate and any inheritance you intend on leaving behind:

  1. Make a Will: Having a will in place when you die is the easiest way to ensure that the executors of your estate distribute your assets according to your wishes.
  2. Gifting: Every year you can give away up to £3,000 exempt from IHT. You are also able to make gifts for weddings or civil partnerships up to the value of £5,000 for a child, £2,500 for a grandchild or £1,000 to anyone else. There is also no IHT levied on any gifts made to spouses or civil partners.
  3. Pensions or Savings: Due to recent changes in legislation, personal pension funds are exempt from IHT.
  4. Investing for Children: You are able to give away a tax-free allowance up to £9,000 each year to a Junior ISA. This is exempt from IHT, as long as you don’t pass away 7 years after making the gift.

If you have any concerns about what will happen to your estate when you die, please contact one of our financial advisors will be happy to talk you through your personal situation over a free Zoom call or a meeting in person. Contact us via our website at:

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