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Unused estate duty exemption, spouse died in 1974

Unused estate duty exemption, spouse died in 1974

Husband died in September 1974, leaving £20,000 estate to wife. Wife died in 2015.
Is there any unused estate duty exempt amount to add to the wife's nil rate band?
It seems to me that since £20,000 was over the £15,000 exemption in place in September 1974, there's nothing available to use now. However someone at HMRC, and certain online articles, are implying that there is £10,000 of £15,000 of (presumably) the wife's unused estate duty allowance available so the current nil rate band can be increased by 66.67% (£10,000/£15,000).
Any ideas?
Thanks!

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By Cathy R
04th Mar 2016 08:16

I believe so

The spouse exemption at that time was limited to £15k, so £5k of the nil rate band would have been used.  If no Estate Duty was paid on the first death this would indicate that the nil rate band was not fully utilised, if any Estate Duty was paid then the nil rate band was fully utilised.

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04th Mar 2016 09:59

Thanks!
Many thanks Cathy. Is the point I was missing that there was a spousal exemption AND a nil rate band?

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By Cathy R
04th Mar 2016 10:10

Yes I think so, the spouse exemption was relatively new at that time.

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