With the current coronavirus crisis sadly affecting many people in the emergency services, particularly frontline NHS staff, support for key health and care workers and their families is needed now more than ever.
When someone dies and their estate is valued for inheritance tax purposes, then a number of exemptions are available to potentially reduce the amount of tax payable.
According to Dee Benians, a probate specialist at Hughes Solicitors in Heathfield, ‘One type of tax relief which should be considered for those critical workers on the frontline fighting the pandemic is known as ‘blue light’ relief. It was introduced by the Government originally for members of the armed forces or humanitarian aid workers whose death had been caused or hastened by injury while on active service.’
Eligibility for the exemption was extended in 2015 to include all emergency service personnel and humanitarian aid workers who die responding to emergency circumstances, or whose death is hastened by injury incurred in the line of duty.
This includes circumstances where someone already has a pre-existing disease which is aggravated ‘while on active service’.
Emergency services personnel (either volunteers or employed) include:
- the police force;
- the fire service;
- medical, ambulance or paramedic services;
- those transporting organs, blood or other medical equipment; and
- other search and rescue services, such as Her Majesty’s Coastguard.
Humanitarian aid workers include those who provide humanitarian assistance on behalf of the Government, charities, and international organisations.
For most people, inheritance tax is payable on the value of your estate over and above the threshold of £325,000 (also known as the nil rate band) at a rate of 40 per cent. For married couples or those in a civil partnership, the threshold increases to £650,000 and potentially up to £1m if the estate includes a residence which passes to direct lineal descendants. A person’s estate includes all their property, assets and money such as, land, houses, savings accounts, cars, jewelry and some life insurance policies. Lifetime gifts within a certain period may also be taken into account.
At Hughes Solicitors we can help support you after the death of a loved one and through the complexities of probate and managing their estate. For a confidential discussion, please contact Dee Benians by email firstname.lastname@example.org
This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since the date this article was published.