Book review: Inheritance Tax Planning Handbook

In a first for us, the Law Society asked us to take a look at their Inheritance Tax Planning Handbook, reviewing it with a financial planning lens firmly in place.

Luckily for us, we happen to have a law graduate in our midst and our Paraplanner, Alyson Brooker, tackled the task, and the book, with relish laced with a little trepidation.

Before Alyson gets stuck in, there’s a few housekeeping points. The Inheritance Tax Planning Handbook is edited by John Bunker and Andrew Nixon. It’s available in paperback and runs to 384 pages.

Over to Alyson…

Inheritance Tax Planning Handbook

Bunker and Nixon

Having studied Law at university and followed that up with many Financial Services exams, I’m used to battling my way through weighty academic textbooks. I was expecting something similar from Bunker and Nixon’s Inheritance Tax Planning Handbook. However, I was pleasantly surprised when the relatively slimline book arrived. It’s also a refreshingly easy read, but of course, it’s written and edited by practitioners, not professors.

This book is packed with information, references for further reading and helpful tips. At the same time, it’s modern, approachable and well written. As a Paraplanner, I know how difficult it can be to communicate complicated technical subjects in plain English, and everyone who has contributed to this book has achieved that. If you like to do work-related reading in your free time, are studying towards IHT and Trusts exams or just need some more unstructured CPD, this is a very engaging solution.

The authors appreciate that, although the subject matter is well-known to them, it can be difficult to understand and follow. Every explanation is concise and reinforced with simple examples. There are plenty of references to further reading or source material, so that the chapters aren’t bulked out with extraneous material.

This book is an excellent example of successful collaboration, with individual contributions from various members of the Irwin Mitchell team, each focussing on their particular specialisms and interests. Yet, there’s little overlap between the various chapters and it’s a well-rounded and comprehensive piece of work. The editors themselves include interesting (and occasionally witty) observations that are informed by decades of experience. For example, when you should keep an eye out for HMRC’s Trusts and Estates Newsletters, which forms you need and how reality can often work slightly differently than HMRC’s manuals tell you.

The book also includes some suggestions of where a client’s Solicitor, Financial Planner and Accountant could work well together to deliver valuable advice on all fronts.

For anyone working in Financial Services, Law or even Accountancy, this handbook is a priceless resource. It can be read from cover to cover equally as well as it can be used as a reference book. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about Inheritance Tax and estate planning in general, whether for general reading, or to have available in the office library when they need to clarify a technical point or check their understanding of a particular issue. I, for one, will be keeping it on my desk within reaching distance! I can tell already how much time it’s going to save if I need to find a filing deadline, check the details of Agricultural Property Relief or look into options for a client to maximise the Residence Nil Rate Band. It’s a valuable addition to any Paraplanner or Financial Adviser’s toolkit.

If we’ve whet your appetite

If Alyson’s review has you yearning for your own copy, you can buy it for £95 here.