More clarity on gift plans, says Standard Life

14 October 2005
Standard Life this week called for a more consistent approach to discounted gift plans as well as simpler guidelines.

The company said that a clearer, more customer-orientated approach to gift plans would help customers make decisions and make it easier for investment advisors to recommend suitable plans.

Senior solicitor at Standard Life, Julie Hutchison, said: "We think it makes sense that the discounts associated with discounted gift plans across the industry should be consistent so the real focus remains on investment choices and the quality of service and underwriting."

Discounted gift plans are geared towards those who want to 'gift' money to a trust part of their inheritance tax planning strategy (IHT) while getting income from it.

If the person dies within the first seven years of the plan, it is only then that discounts come into play.

The amount added back into their estate for IHT purposes may be less than their initial investment, in which case they would receive a discount.

The value of the discount is dependent on age, sex and health, as well as the amount of income received over the period.

Standard Life is launching its new gift plan later this month.

One way of avoiding having to pay inheritance tax is to invest it in companies listed in the Alternative Investment Market (Aim), according to a new report.

Aim companies are exempt from IHT after just two years.

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