Why pay a voluntary tax?

Why do people choose to pay Inheritance Tax (IHT) when there are so many ways to mitigate it?
in the tax year 2014/15 £3.8bn was paid to HMRC for IHT tax, with an average bill over £170000.
Everyone has a nil-rate band which is currently £350000, nil-rate bands are potentially transferable upon the death of the 2nd spouse giving an individual nil-rate band of £650000, anything above this is taxable at 40%.
The foundation stone of any planning is an appropriate will and to keep it up to date, without one your estate will be subject to the rules of intestacy which will cause unnecessary time delays and may mean the distribution of assets will not be in line with your wishes.
There are exemptions available such as an annual gift exemtion of £3000, if this has never been used you can carry back one year to use last years allowance giving an initail allowance of £6000.
Assets passed between Spouses are tax free but consideration must be given to the passage of assets on the death of the 2nd spouse.
Gifts in consideration of marriage are IHT free up to certain limits, £5000 for Parents, £2500 for Grandparents and anyone else £1000.
Small gifts of £250 to individuals are free of IHT.
Gifts to Charity from a will is tax efficient, a gift of 10% of an estate will reduce the amount of IHT paid to 36%.
With careful planning Trusts can be good for IHT planning, this can be complicated and good advice must be sought.
There are investment contracts which benefit from Business Property Relief (BPR) to mitigate tax if held for 2 years.
Some investments can be written into trusts to mitigate the tax, and even life assurance written on Married couples as a Whole of Life (WOL) joint life 2nd death under trust can be effective as it pays out a tax free lump sum to the beneficiaries to enable the IHT bill to be paid.

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