Increase in urgent marriages of previously cohabiting couples

…as a way to reduce the IHT impact on an estate of one of the couple who is approaching death imminently

Couples who have been cohabiting, living together as common law husband and wife, are now realising, just before one of the couple dies, that getting married may have some tax benefits for them. Unfortunately, it appears that some people are leaving it very late in the day to take the necessary action as, according to the Home Office, there has been a significant increase in the number of applications for urgent marriages.

wedding bandsMarriage is still favoured under tax law. Over time this will almost certainly change. But, for now, such things as the transfer (from deceased spouse) of ‘the standard Nil Rate Band’ (meaning that no IHT is payable up to this amount – currently £325k) and also the new Residential Nil Rate Band to a spouse* can make a significant difference to the amount of Inheritance Tax a ‘couple’ might be liable for.

One famous person who ensured that he married his partner of 40+ years shortly before he died was Ken Dodd. He may have been a little more wealthy than most of us – his marriage saved the estate an estimated £2 million – but the principle holds for everyone whose estate would, or might, be liable to Inheritance Tax.

If you are unsure how you and your partner might be affected contact Colin who will provide sensible and down to earth advice.

*Spouse – we include the definition of spouse here for clarity.

According to Wikipedia (as at 22/03/2019): What qualifies as a spouse?

The term is gender neutral, whereas a male spouse is a husband and a female spouse is a wife. Although a spouse is a form of significant other, the latter term also includes non-marital partners who play a social role similar to that of a spouse, but do not have rights and duties reserved by law to a spouse.