‘I’m giving my home to my grandchild to escape inheritance tax, but I’m worried my legacy will be squandered’

Isobel Greenshields - Julian Simmonds
Isobel Greenshields - Julian Simmonds

The Telegraph has launched a campaign to scrap inheritance tax, which is backed by dozens of Conservative MPs.

Our readers have overwhelmingly voiced their support, sharing their stories about how inheritance tax has affected them. Here’s what they told us.

Isobel Greenshields, 80, Billericay in Essex

Ms Greenshields said she feels forced to transfer her wealth to her grandchildren earlier than she feels is appropriate to avoid large tax bills.

She said: “As soon as my granddaughter gets to 18, if I put half or all of my rental house in her name, that will cut back on the inheritance tax.

“But then the other grandparents have pointed out that they’re really much too young at 18.

“They’re likely to just sell it and go traveling or do something stupid like that. They’re not really old enough or mature enough to have that responsibility.

“You’re making judgments – often bad judgments – because of these inheritance taxes.”

Isobel Greenshields - Julian Simmonds
Isobel Greenshields - Julian Simmonds

Francis Moss, 73, Bourne End in Buckinghamshire

Ms Moss fears inheritance tax will make it more difficult to help her grandchildren on to the housing ladder.

She said: “House prices have rocketed and we’ve always been very frugal and always put all our money into housing. We’ve been lucky but there’s now a big chunk of money invested in our house.

“We are in our 70s and 80s so we need to think about this. If inheritance tax was scrapped, that money could go to our grandchildren to help them on the housing ladder, solving the problem with available housing for rent as well.

“We’re just very ordinary people. Inheritance tax was all meant for the wealthy: we certainly are not that.

“The Conservatives might actually win the election if they abolish inheritance tax before it is due.”

Bernard Kerrison, 75, London

Mr Kerrison feels it is unfair that loopholes allow the super-wealthy to avoid inheritance tax but middle earners cannot.

He said: “I’ve not managed to do any fancy schemes, I can’t go offshore. The very rich can do what they want, effectively. If you’re rich enough, you’ll pay negligible inheritance tax. I’m probably worth a few million, so there’ll be a fair amount of tax.

“I can’t shelter half a million quid from inheritance tax by buying a farm because you don’t even get the gate for half a million quid. But if you’ve got £30m, £40m, £50m you just put it in there and it’s tax free.”

Cheryl Felix, 65, Marton, Lincolnshire

Ms Felix said she said she was worried about the tax bill of her late father’s £600,000 estate, before realising at the last moment, once she had finally understood the complex rules, she qualified for extra protections.

She said: “When I asked the tax office on the phone why the tax existed at all, the exact words I got were ‘it is so that the children of rich people don’t stay rich’. Appalling.”

Bill Williams, 67, St Albans in Hertfordshire

Mr Williams faced a string of delays getting probate that nearly scuppered the sale of his sister’s home. Probate is normally needed before tax can be paid. If tax is not paid within six months of death, penalties apply.

He said: “In the middle of the pandemic, my sister was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of brain tumour. She lived 12 months. With just me as her carer as I was the only one who could “bubble” with her. We had to put her into a private care home at the end and I was paying. Her only asset was her house and we needed the funds released to pay my debts as well as hers. But I needed probate to sell the house.”

How has inheritance tax impacted you? Do you have a story for our campaign? Email money@telegraph.co.uk  

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