How Ken Dodd Avoided Inheritance Tax

Last month, the UK said goodbye to a national treasure, as singer and comedian Ken Dodd passed away after a severe chest infection. Two days before his passing, however, he and his partner of forty years, Anne Jones, decided to marry. It has been said that Dodd has “had the last laugh” as doing so would ensure that Anne doesn’t lose £2 million in inheritance tax.  It is important to note that Ken Dodd made a Will leaving his estate to Anne.

What is Inheritance Tax and how much is it?

Inheritance tax (IHT) is a tax on the estate of whoever has died. There are a few circumstances IHT is not paid, such as if the value of your estate is below the threshold of £325,000, you leave everything to your spouse or civil partner or if you leave everything to an exempt beneficiary such as a charity. If the value is above the nil rate band (NRB) of £325,000, then part of your estate above this will be liable for the tax rate at 40%, which is fixed until 2021.

The home allowance, or RNRB, has recently been introduced. This is on top of the nil rate band. In order for this to apply you must pass your home or a share of it to your children or grandchildren.

Given certain conditions are met, the home allowance gives you an additional allowance to be used to lower the IHT against your home. At the moment, the home allowance is £125,000 but is set to rise to £175,000 by 2021 and will be in line with the consumer price index from then on.

Valuing your Estate

To value an estate you must first devise a list of all assets and calculate their value at the date of death, and deduct any debts and liabilities. It is important to keep record of how you calculated it, such as estate agents valuation. HMRC are entitled to request a viewing of the records up to twenty years after IHT is paid.

Assets include banked money, property and land, valuable possessions, insurance policy pay-outs and jointly owned assets. Gifts must also be included, such as cash or other assets, if they were to be given away in the seven years before the individual has passed.  Gifts given to the deceased before this period must also be included if they continued to benefit from it, such as if they were to give their house way but continue to live in it up until death. These are also known as “gifts with reservations of benefit.”

Who Pays Inheritance Tax?

If there is a Will, it will be the executor who arranges to pay the IHT. If not, it will come down to the administrator of the estate. IHT is normally paid from funds within the estate, or from sales of assets if the estate has no cash. There are also times where the deceased has left money in the estate to pay this tax, or may have arranged for a life insurance policy to cover the bill.

When do you pay Inheritance Tax?

IHT must normally be paid within six months of the person’s death. After that there will be an interest charge from HMRC, regardless of if the executor chooses to pay by instalments over the years. If the Asset is sold before IHT is paid, the executors must ensure all instalments and interest are paid by then.

If your estate is likely to incur IHT, it’s ideal for the executor to pay some tax within the first six months of death to avoid paying interest for late payment.

Using Life Insurance to pay Inheritance Tax

Taking out a life insurance policy to pay some or all of your IHT bill can give you peace of mind you’re not passing down a big tax bill to your family and friends when you pass away. If you choose to do this, it is important to ensure you take advice before making any decisions. You will only reduce IHT on your estate if your life insurance policy is written in trust during your lifetime. If not then the policy proceeds will count towards the value of your estate and be liable to IHT on your death.

The importance of having a properly drafted Will

If you die without making a Will, you will die intestate. In these circumstances, your estate may not automatically pass to your spouse in its entirety. The rules relating to inheritance tax are therefore different and your loved ones may end up paying more tax than they would have to had you had a properly drafted Will.

If you have not yet had a Will drafted or your circumstances have changed since your Will was drafted, our specialist Wills & Probate Solicitors can advise you in relation to your Will and the planning of your estate. Should you be unable to travel to one of our offices, Claire and Ivana will be happy to visit you at home. 

Claire Atkinson
Solicitor for the Elderly
1 Anthony Street
01457 835597

Ivana Bailey, Solicitor
56-58 Pole Lane
M35 9PB
0161 682 2400

Join our Team – Experienced Conveyancing Secretary Required

An opportunity has arisen for an experienced Conveyancing Legal Secretary based in our Mossley office. The main duties of the role are:-

To assist the Head of Department to provide an excellent Customer focused conveyancing service:

  • Audio and copy typing
  • Initial set up of all new matters on the case management system.
  • Entering additional information as received to ensure the case management system is kept up to date at all times
  • Answering the telephone and dealing with enquiries raised where possible using the case management system.
  • General administration work on all domestic, remortgage and transfer of equity transactions i.e. scanning of all post to the system, chasing confirmation that mortgage advance monies will arrive from lender and applying for searches.
  • Post completion administration to include liaising with the Land Registry

Person Specification:

The successful candidate will have:


  • Proven experience within this area of law
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • An ability to work with a case management system, databases and office IT systems.
  • Ability to work within a team
  • Ability to work flexibly
  • Ability to work to strict deadlines
  • A commitment to Equal Opportunities

Salary: Dependant upon experience

To apply for the position, please forward your CV together with details of your salary expectations to our Practice Manager, Mrs Alex Newman by email 


Who? When? Where? How? –

Who? When? Where? How? These are the Questions that a Coroner will be seeking to answer when someone dies in circumstances where it is suspected that they passed away because of a violent or unnatural death, if they die in custody whilst detained for immigration or for mental health purposes, or when the cause of death is unknown. Continue reading…

Common Road Driving Mistakes: How to Prevent a Road Traffic Accident

The UK has some of the safest vehicles compared to the vehicles that were on the road many years ago, but road traffic accidents are growing more and more common each day, many of which leading to serious injuries. Accidents happen, but it is important to learn from them. Here are a few examples of road accidents that occur and how to avoid them.

Road Traffic Accident caused by Speeding 

Though it may appear obvious, rushing is a natural habit many of us possess. Put this together with how we are in everyday life, rushing in your vehicle may result in an accident with serious repercussions. Though the smallest injury arising from a road traffic accident may be a mild neck injury, it could be as severe as a brain or spinal injury, leading to paralysis, two life changing injuries which will affect not only yourself, but your loved ones.

The main way to avoid speeding is to change your way of thinking. Many view the speed limit as the minimum or only speed, but it is the maximum and that is how it should always be seen. It’s better to be late in this life than early in the next, so maybe rush yourself around the house when you’re late for work, but not on the road.

Road Traffic Accident cause by Drink Driving 

Another obvious example, driving over the alcohol consumption limit has extremely serious consequences. Firstly, due to a delay in reaction times, you are much more likely to find yourself involved in a road traffic accident which can be fatal to both yourself and other passengers in not only your car but other potential vehicles involved. If caught, you will be arrested, be given a criminal record, lose your license and risk damage to your current or future employment.

Prevention is simple. DON’T drink and drive.

Inexperienced Drivers 

17-24 year old new drivers, especially male, are a target group that are more prone to getting involved in a road traffic accident. This is why insurance for new drivers of this age is significantly higher. The risk of a crash is high due to inexperience, combined with speeding and being easily influenced by peer pressure.

How can this be prevented? Just say no. It may seem easy to follow, but many young drivers buy a car with the assurance that they will take care of it, and find themselves ignoring their own words. So it’s important to keep reminding yourself the fatality of your actions. Stick to the rules of the road and consider taking extra courses such as the Pass Plus if possible.

Failing to Look Properly

People who fail to look properly are often prone to scanning at a junction in order to get moving as quickly as possible, increasing the risk of a road traffic accident. Obstacles that block their view are also a factor, but with focused attention, junctions are easy to navigate. Changing lanes without proper consideration of vehicles around you is also a major cause of accident. Just remember to spend a couple of extra seconds to watch the road around you.

Failing to judge the speed or path of other drivers

The first thing to take into account is your eyesight. If you are unable to view distances clearly and cannot judge the speed of a vehicle due to the lack of reference points, you need to get your eyes tested and potentially wear glasses. Secondly, inexperience is another factor for judging the path and speed of another vehicle.

If you were to ask an experienced driver, they’re likely to inform you that you develop a “6th sense” over time and will find it easier the more you drive.

It is also important to remember what steps to take if you find yourself involved in a road traffic accident, especially when it isn’t your fault. Having an expert solicitor by your side to help get your life back on track is key, so if you are based in or around Stockport, Tameside or Greater Manchester and you are considering making a claim, then get in touch with Harold Stock and Co today to see how we can help.

Whiplash Reforms to be introduced in 2019

Last week the government announced plans to introduce its whiplash reforms in April 2019. According to a statement by the Motor Accident Solicitors Society, also known as MASS, the so-called “strategic alliance” (formed by MASS, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, aka APIL, and the Law Society) were informed that ministers have made an agreement for personal injury reforms to be put into place from April next year. Continue reading…

Harold Stock & Co supporting mental health in Tameside

Harold Stock & Co. are proud to sponsor local mental health charity,  The Anthony Seddon Fund‘s annual charity night for the fourth consecutive year.

The Anthony Seddon Fund is based in Ashton-under-Lyne. The charity was founded by Donna Thomas and her husband, Brian following the death of their son, Anthony in 2013.

Anthony Seddon

Anthony was a lovely, warm young man with a brilliant sense of humour and a smile that could light up a room. He was popular, energetic and intelligent, but sadly struggled with bi-polar disorder from the age of 18. After a 12-year battle with the disorder, during which he was constantly in and out of hospital, sometimes struggling to cope with the debilitating side effects of strong medications, Anthony died by suicide on 31st March 2013. He was just 30 years old.

Anthony’s family were determined that something positive would come from Anthony’s death and founded the charity in his name. The charity helps people who are in a similar situation to that of Anthony and his family as well as aiming to educate the wider community about mental health.

The charity has gone from strength to strength over the past few years and the money raised by their charity night is vital to them if they are to continue to provide the support and services to the community.

The services provided by The Anthony Seddon Fund include a daily drop-in, a Suicide Bereavement Group, The Talk Shop – a drop-in for 9-19 year olds and much more. Full details of the services provided by The Anthony Seddon Fund can be found on their website or their Facebook page

Tickets for the event can be purchased from The Anthony Seddon Fund shop at 1 Market Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, The Anthony Seddon Fund Centre at 12 George Street, Ashton-under-Lyne or from their website 

The Annual Fundraiser

Medical Negligence: Are all Lawyers Ambulance Chasers?

In the last two weeks it has been announced that “no win, no fee”, medical negligence lawyers have been banned from advertising their services from within NHS hospitals. According to the altered contract, trusts “must not enter into, extend or renew any contractual agreement” with any company who could potentially lead to a legal claim against the National Health Service. Between 2016 and 2017, the NHS spent around £1.7 billion on clinical negligence claims, with 36 percent of that being legal costs. Continue reading…

Driving Laws and Your Sat Nav

In early December, 2017, a variety of changes were made to driving laws in the UK. A few of these changes in particular were focused around sat nav. Whether you use your mobile device, built in navigation or an external device, it is important to take these new changes into account. Continue reading…