Inheritance Tax - How to Plan With What You've Got

Doctors with an Inheritance Tax (IHT) liability have several options for minimising the tax bill their beneficiaries will face on receipt of their inheritance.  In practice, what can be done depends on the type of assets held. 

The main residence 

Where the main residence is the main asset, the value is tied up in the property so isn’t available for IHT planning that involves making gifts.  The only circumstance in which the main residence can be gifted while the occupant continues to live there is if rent is paid to the new owners at the full market rate. 


The NHS Pension may be valuable but it is effectively IHT-free as the unpaid pension doesn’t form part of your estate on death.  Your spouse or partner will in most cases receive an ongoing income after your death; however, there is no flexibility to pay the income to anyone else or take lump sum death benefits instead, so the IHT planning potential is limited.  This isn’t the case for any money you may have in a personal pension, where you can nominate beneficiaries of your choice who can take lump sum withdrawals and/or income or just leave the funds invested depending on their needs, all typically IHT-free.  

Business assets 

For doctors who have their own business, this can often be passed on IHT-free using Business Property Relief.  The main exceptions are businesses that deal mainly with securities, stocks or shares, land or buildings, or in making or holding investments, and not-for-profit organisations.  

Cash and investments 

Liquid cash and investments offer the most potential for IHT planning.  Options include outright gifts, gifts into trusts, or to other plans such as loan plans that allow you to retain access to the capital if your circumstances change or discounted gift plans that pay you an ongoing ‘income’ from the capital.  A further option is investing in businesses that qualify for Business Property Relief; typically small companies that are unlisted or listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and not the main stock exchange. 

Surplus income 

A simple IHT planning option is to use surplus income to take out an insurance plan that will pay off the tax liability on death.  A whole of life insurance plan is typically used for this purpose and it needs to be written in trust so the payout goes to the beneficiaries, who can use it to pay the tax.  When the insurance premiums are paid out of surplus income they are IHT-free under the ‘gifts from excess income’ exemption.  The payout is also IHT-free as long as it is made to trust.  

To discuss your circumstances and the most suitable solutions for you, please contact Richard Higgs CFP FPFS on 0117 966 5699 or

More News
Can doctors trust the rising market? Monday, July 23, 2018
Quote Mark
  • "We have been very impressed with the personal service, attention to detail and comprehensive evaluation of our financial circumstances. We would certainly appreciate ongoing help and support from Richard over the future." Jason Kendall (Consultant in Accident and Emergency), Southmead Hospital
  • "Richard provides a very convenient and personal service. Richard has good knowledge and has the ability to go through reasoning for any recommendations." Tim Mitchell (GP), Montpelier Health Centre
  • "Richard provides an excellent service, prompt and flexible. Although the level of technical knowledge is impressive, answers to our questions are presented in a straightforward manner, without overwhelming us with information." Mary Gainsborough (Consultant in Paediatrics), Southmead Hospital
  • "Richard gives me an excellent personal service in my own home. His advice and explanations have been excellent. Richard also has excellent technical knowledge – who wouldn’t be happy?" Charles Record (GP), Frome Valley Medical Centre
  • "Richard provides an excellent, personal service. He responds very quickly and attentively to queries and very much keeps me up to date with important matters that affect me - such as the latest changes to pensions, investments and taxation. Recommendations are delivered in a timely, effective manner - usually face to face in my own home." Professor Gianni Angelini (Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery), BRI
  • "It is very convenient for me to be seen at home and Richard is very flexible with timings - especially when unexpected things crop up at the hospital. Meetings are friendly and relaxed with my long-term best interests very much at the heart of discussions." Professor Gianni Angelini (Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery), BRI
  • "We have found it far more reassuring having a local adviser rather than a national firm. We have found the service excellent and Richard answers all the questions we want answering. Richard's technical knowledge is excellent, he has detailed knowledge of pensions." Paul Male and Helen Lewis (GPs), Thornbury Health Centre
  • "The personal touch counts for a lot and the willingness to visit us at home is much appreciated. Richard provides an excellent, friendly, accessible service, not encumbered by jargon or salesmanship." Professor Peter Mathieson (Honorary Professor of Medicine), University of Bristol
  • "I can recommend Richard as providing measured, balanced independent financial advice. He listens very carefully and tailors advice appropriately in a knowledge-based manner. He is very accessible and gives his clients time and clarity in order to make the most sensible decisions for themselves based on the available facts." Andrew Medford (Consultant in Respiratory Medicine), Southmead Hospital
  • "Richard now knows me and understands my financial position. I have complete trust in his advice. The level of service I have experienced is second to none. We have received regular reviews in our own home, speedy and thorough advice to any queries." John Rees (General Practitioner, Specialist in Urology ), Blackwell and Nailsea Medical Group
  • "The advice I have received has dramatically altered my personal protection policies for the better and reduced my personal tax liability." John Rees (General Practitioner, Specialist in Urology ), Blackwell and Nailsea Medical Group
  • "I appreciate Richard's local knowledge and the fact that he is in contact with a lot of local general practitioners which is useful for networking. He is also very knowledgeable about the different pension schemes and their pros and cons." Fiona Hayes (General Practitioner) Bristol University Student Services
  • "I have enjoyed the process of dealing with a local advisor and it has not felt like a box ticking exercise. The service has been excellent. The great flexibility to come to my home at a time suitable to my working day has set this company apart from others I have dealt with in the past. The technical knowledge provided has been expertly tailored to my requirements and financial situation. The manner in which it has been delivered has also been first rate. " Beth Harrison (General Practitioner) Montpellier Health Centre
  • "We have regular meetings with the same adviser who knows our profile and keeps our requirements in mind with the plans he makes. The reviews are simple to organise and are always at a convenient time and location." Mike Bould (Orthopaedic Surgeon) Western General Hospital
  • "The service I have received from Wealth West is excellent! they are more personable and accessible than large firms and are not pushy at all. They also have a very good breadth and depth of knowledge." Billy and Annie Headdon (Anaesthetics and Intensive Care Trainee, General Practitioner) Montpelier Health Centre
  • "My experience of the service has been excellent. I have been able to ask many questions and have received excellent advice on my financial situation. The technical knowledge of Wealth West Medical is excellent. Anyone who can help my investments grow in the current environment clearly knows what they are doing. I would highly recommend Richard and Wealth West Medical." Linda Buczek (General Practice Manager) Bishopston Medical Practice
  • "The technical knowledge of Wealth West Medical is very good. Richard keeps up to date with the changes to the NHS pension scheme and new legislation." Melanie Lockett (Consultant) Southmead Hospital
  • "Wealth West Medical offers a friendly, helpful and efficient service. Richard keeps in touch at regular intervals and has a very good knowledge of pensions and investments." Rachel Brown (General Practitioner) Montpelier Health Centre
  • "Richard comes to my house for meetings and it is nice to see a familiar face. He remembers my details, and advises over the long term. Richard has a detailed understanding of my particular pension plan and has explained this very clearly to me. He has also helped me to manage tax payments for annual allowance and pension protection." Hugh Herzig (Consultant Psychiatrist) Southmead Hospital
  • .