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How To Leave Money To Grandchildren In Will in the UK?

Updated: Apr 6

Leaving money or property to grandchildren in a will is a common practice in the UK. It's a way to ensure that the younger generation is financially secure and that your legacy continues. However, the process can be complex, and there are various methods and considerations to be aware of. This article explores the different ways you can leave money to your grandchildren, the reasons for doing so, and the legal implications.

How To Leave Money To Grandchildren In Will in the UK

Why Leave Money to Grandchildren?

Skipping a Generation

Some grandparents choose to skip a generation in their wills, leaving assets directly to their grandchildren rather than their children. This can be due to various reasons:

  • Children are already financially stable.

  • Desire to avoid double taxation.

  • Concerns about children's financial responsibility or choice of spouse.

How to Leave Money to Grandchildren

Outright Gift

An outright gift means that the beneficiary becomes entitled to the money or asset as soon as the testator passes away. If the beneficiary is under 18, the gift would be held in trust until they reach that age.

Money Gifted at a Specified Age

You can specify the age at which a beneficiary will inherit money from your estate. Common ages used are 21 or 25. This method helps prevent money from being spent unwisely by young beneficiaries.

Discretionary Trust

A discretionary trust can be set up to hold money for multiple beneficiaries, including grandchildren. This trust gives control over how the money is invested and spent, protecting it from being lost in divorce or bankruptcy.

Types of Trust Funds

Bare Trust

A simple structure where assets are held by a trustee until the benefactor reaches adulthood or a specified moment.

Interest in Possession Trust

This allows a specified benefactor to enjoy the interest from the asset while it's held in trust, with ownership passing to another designated benefactor later.

Accumulation Trusts

These trusts allow trustees to accumulate wealth from the property and add it to the estate or pay out income as specified.

Leaving Property for Grandchildren

Since children under 18 cannot legally own property in the UK, you may need to employ a trust structure to pass on property. Options include:

  • Outright gift during your lifetime.

  • Assigning grandchildren as benefactors upon your death.

  • Structuring a trust fund specifically for your grandchildren.

Estate Planning and Inheritance Tax Considerations

Careful planning is essential to mitigate inheritance tax and ensure that future generations have the support they need. Leaving assets in a trust may incur an inheritance tax charge every ten years, so professional advice is crucial.

Ensuring Your Wishes Are Carried Out

A recent survey revealed that many grandparents don't trust their children to carry out their wishes regarding leaving assets to grandchildren. The key to ensuring that your grandchildren benefit as you desire is to have a will and trust drafted that reflects your wishes and family circumstances.

Leaving money to grandchildren in a will in the UK is a thoughtful and often complex process. By understanding the various methods, types of trusts, and legal implications, you can make informed decisions that align with your wishes and benefit your family in the long term. It's always advisable to consult with expert wills and probate solicitors to tailor an estate plan that suits your unique situation.

Inheritance Tax (IHT) in the UK is a tax on the estate of someone who has died. It is a complex area of law that can have significant financial implications for those inheriting money or property. This article will explore the current rules and allowances for leaving money to grandchildren in a will in the UK as of 2023.

What Is the Best One Way to Leave an Inheritance to Grandchildren and Why Is It Better Than Other Ways?

Leaving an inheritance to grandchildren is a personal decision that can be influenced by various factors such as the size of the estate, the age of the grandchildren, the family's financial situation, and the testator's wishes. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, one method that is often considered advantageous is the use of a Discretionary Trust. Here's why:

Discretionary Trust


  1. Control:The trust allows the settlor (the person creating the trust) to maintain control over how the assets are used, even after death. The trustees can be guided by a 'letter of wishes' that outlines how the settlor would like the assets to be distributed.

  2. Flexibility: The trust can be set up to benefit multiple beneficiaries, including grandchildren, and can adapt to changing circumstances. For example, if a grandchild has a financial need before reaching a specified age, the trustees can decide to distribute funds earlier.

  3. Tax Efficiency: With careful planning, a discretionary trust can be structured to minimize or defer Inheritance Tax. It can also protect the assets from Capital Gains Tax and provide income tax benefits.

  4. Protection: Assets within the trust are generally protected from creditors, divorce settlements, and bankruptcy proceedings. This ensures that the inheritance remains within the family.

  5. Education and Guidance: Trust can be used as a tool to educate grandchildren about financial responsibility. The trustees can guide them in managing and investing the funds wisely.

Comparison with Other Methods:

  • Outright Gifts: Unlike outright gifts, a discretionary trust provides control and protection. An outright gift to a minor would require a legal guardian to manage the funds, and once the grandchild reaches adulthood, they would have full control, potentially leading to misuse.

  • Specified Age Gifts: Leaving money to be received at a specific age (e.g., 21 or 25) provides less flexibility than a trust. If a financial need arises before that age, the funds would be inaccessible.

  • Gifts with Reservation: Unlike gifts where the settlor continues to benefit (which may be subject to Inheritance Tax), a properly structured discretionary trust can avoid this issue.

While a Discretionary Trust offers many advantages, it may not be suitable for every situation. It requires careful planning, legal expertise, and ongoing management, which can be costly and time-consuming. The decision should be made in consultation with legal and financial professionals who understand the family's unique circumstances and the latest inheritance laws in the jurisdiction.

What are the Current Inheritance Rules to Leave Money to Grandchildren in Will in the UK?

Inheritance Tax Thresholds

Standard Threshold

The standard IHT threshold is £325,000. If the estate's value is below this threshold, there's normally no Inheritance Tax to pay.

Increased Threshold for Family Home

If you leave your home to your children or grandchildren, the threshold can increase to £500,000.

Unused Threshold

If you're married or in a civil partnership and your estate is worth less than your threshold, any unused threshold can be added to your partner's threshold when you die.

Inheritance Tax Rates

The standard Inheritance Tax rate is 40%, charged only on the part of the estate above the threshold. There is a reduced rate of 36% if 10% or more of the net value is left to charity.

Gifts and Inheritance Tax

Gifts Given Less Than 7 Years Before Death

Gifts given less than 7 years before death may be taxed. The tax depends on the recipient's relationship to you, the value of the gift, and when it was given.

Exempt Gifts

Gifts between spouses or civil partners, and gifts to charities or political parties, are exempt from Inheritance Tax.

Using Allowances to Give Tax-Free Gifts

Annual Exemption

You can give away £3,000 worth of gifts each tax year without them being added to the value of your estate.

Small Gift Allowance

Gifts of up to £250 per person are allowed, as long as you have not used another allowance on the same person.

Gifts for Weddings or Civil Partnerships

You can give tax-free gifts to someone getting married or starting a civil partnership, up to £5,000 to a child, £2,500 to a grandchild, and £1,000 to any other person.

Regular Payments

Regular payments to another person, such as paying rent for a child or supporting an elderly relative, can be made tax-free if they meet specific criteria.

The 7-Year Rule

No tax is due on gifts given if you live for 7 years after giving them. If you die within 7 years, the amount of tax depends on when the gift was given, with a sliding scale known as 'taper relief'.

Gifts with Reservation

If you give something away but still benefit from it, it will count towards the value of your estate. Examples include giving your home to a relative but still living there.

Keeping Records of Gifts

It is essential to keep records of gifts given in the 7 years before death, including what was given, its value, and when it was given.

The rules surrounding Inheritance Tax and leaving money to grandchildren in the UK are intricate and subject to change. Understanding the thresholds, rates, exemptions, and allowances can help in planning and potentially reducing the tax liability on your estate. It is always advisable to seek professional advice from a solicitor or tax adviser to ensure that you are complying with the current laws and making the most of the available allowances.

Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Always consult with a legal or financial professional to understand the specific laws and regulations related to your situation.

Updates 2024

Legal Reforms and Policy Updates

In 2024, it is conceivable that the UK government could introduce legal reforms aimed at simplifying the inheritance tax system. These changes might include adjustments to thresholds, alterations to the rules governing trusts, or the introduction of new options for passing wealth across generations more efficiently. For instance, the government might increase the inheritance tax threshold or introduce new exemptions specifically targeting transfers to grandchildren to encourage intergenerational wealth transfer and support financial stability for younger generations.

Tax Adjustments and Implications

Tax policy is always subject to change, and 2024 could see specific adjustments that directly impact the strategies employed to leave money to grandchildren. This could involve modifications to the rates of inheritance tax, changes in the treatment of gifts, or the introduction of new tax-relief measures for educational expenses or first-time home buyers that grandparents might leverage in planning their legacies.

Societal Trends Influencing Estate Planning

As societal values evolve, so too do the priorities in estate planning. There's a growing trend towards ethical wills and leaving a legacy that extends beyond financial assets, including values, life lessons, and personal stories. By 2024, there might be an increase in tools and services that facilitate these broader legacy aspirations, influencing how grandparents consider their impact on future generations.

Furthermore, with the ongoing discussion about sustainability and climate change, there could be a heightened interest in green investments and ethical saving plans for grandchildren. This might manifest in new financial products or trust structures that allow for investments in sustainable ventures or education funds that prioritize environmental stewardship.

Technological Advancements in Estate Planning

Technology continues to revolutionize how we manage our lives and finances, and by 2024, it's likely that digital estate planning tools will become even more sophisticated. This might include blockchain-based wills that ensure security and transparency or AI-driven platforms that help individuals navigate the complex landscape of inheritance tax planning with personalized advice. Such advancements could make the process of leaving money to grandchildren both simpler and more aligned with modern financial practices.

Additionally, the rise of digital assets and cryptocurrencies presents new considerations for estate planning. By 2024, there might be clearer legal frameworks and tools for including digital currencies and online assets in wills and trusts, ensuring these increasingly valuable assets are not overlooked in estate planning.

Educational Shifts and Support

Given the increasing costs of education and the burden of student loans, future updates might include more targeted approaches to supporting grandchildren's education through estate planning. This could involve new types of educational trusts or savings accounts with favorable tax treatment, designed to support lifelong learning and skills development in a rapidly changing job market.

While the fundamental principles of leaving money to grandchildren will likely remain, the methods, tools, and strategies are set to evolve in 2024 and beyond. By staying informed of legal, societal, and technological trends, individuals can better prepare to leave a meaningful legacy that supports the financial and personal well-being of their grandchildren. As always, the key will be to adapt to these changes thoughtfully, with the guidance of legal and financial professionals who can navigate the complexities of estate planning in a shifting landscape.

How Can an Inheritance Tax Accountant Help You with Your Inheritance Will

How Can an Inheritance Tax Accountant Help You with Your Inheritance Will?

An Inheritance Tax Accountant in the UK plays a crucial role in assisting individuals with their inheritance will and estate planning. Their expertise in tax laws and financial planning can provide valuable insights and strategies to ensure that assets are passed on to beneficiaries in the most tax-efficient manner. Here's how they can help:

1. Understanding Inheritance Tax (IHT) Rules

An Inheritance Tax Accountant will have a deep understanding of the UK's complex IHT rules, including exemptions, reliefs, and thresholds. They can explain these rules in layman's terms, helping you navigate the legal jargon and understand how they apply to your specific situation.

2. Tax Planning and Minimization

They can devise strategies to minimize or even eliminate IHT liability by utilizing various allowances, exemptions, and reliefs. This might include:

  • Advising on gifts and the 7-year rule.

  • Utilizing the annual exemption and other gift allowances.

  • Recommending the use of trusts.

  • Exploring charitable donations.

3. Estate Valuation

An accurate valuation of your estate is essential for IHT purposes. An Inheritance Tax Accountant can assist in valuing assets such as property, investments, businesses, and personal possessions, ensuring that the correct amount of tax is calculated.

4. Trust Planning

Trusts can be an effective way to control and protect assets. An accountant with expertise in this area can advise on the most suitable type of trust for your circumstances, assist in setting it up, and provide ongoing management and compliance support.

5. Collaboration with Legal Professionals

While an Inheritance Tax Accountant focuses on the financial and tax aspects, they often work closely with solicitors or legal professionals to ensure that the will is drafted correctly and aligns with the tax planning strategies.

6. Assistance with Probate

After a death, the accountant can assist the executor in dealing with probate, including completing the necessary tax forms, calculating the IHT due, and liaising with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

7. Ongoing Review and Updates

Tax laws and family circumstances can change. Regular reviews with an Inheritance Tax Accountant ensure that your will and estate planning strategies remain aligned with current laws and your wishes.

8. Peace of Mind

Perhaps most importantly, working with a professional provides peace of mind. Knowing that your estate is structured in a way that reflects your wishes and is compliant with the law can alleviate stress and uncertainty.

Inheritance planning is a complex and highly personal process. An Inheritance Tax Accountant in the UK can provide tailored advice and support, ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and in the most tax-efficient manner. Their expertise in understanding and applying the UK's intricate IHT rules, coupled with a collaborative approach with legal professionals, makes them an invaluable asset in estate planning. Whether you're just starting to think about your will or need assistance with an existing estate, their guidance can make the process smoother and more effective.


1. Can grandparents contribute to a Junior ISA or pension for their grandchildren?

While the article discusses direct inheritance, grandparents can also contribute to a Junior ISA or a pension for their grandchildren as a tax-efficient way to save for their future.

2. How does remarrying affect a grandparent's will and intentions to leave money to grandchildren?

Remarrying can significantly impact estate planning, necessitating a review and possible revision of the will to ensure intentions to leave money to grandchildren are still honored.

3. What are the implications of leaving money to grandchildren who live abroad?

Leaving money to grandchildren living abroad might involve additional legal and tax considerations, depending on the jurisdiction, which could affect how the inheritance is managed and taxed.

4. Can a grandparent leave money for a grandchild's education specifically, and how is this structured?

A grandparent can set up an education trust specifying that the funds be used solely for educational purposes, offering a way to invest in a grandchild's future learning and development.

5. What are the tax implications if a grandchild is the beneficiary of a life insurance policy?

Life insurance payouts are generally tax-free, but if the policy is not written in trust, the payout may be considered part of the estate and could be subject to inheritance tax.

6. How can grandparents ensure that money left to grandchildren is protected from their parents’ debts or bankruptcy?

By using a discretionary trust, grandparents can protect the inheritance from being claimed by creditors in case of the parents' debts or bankruptcy.

7. Are there special considerations for grandparents with step-grandchildren?

Step-grandchildren might not automatically be included in wills unless specifically named, highlighting the importance of clear documentation in estate planning.

8. How can a grandparent’s will accommodate future grandchildren or those not yet born?

A will can include provisions for future grandchildren by specifying a class of beneficiaries, such as "all my grandchildren," to include those not yet born.

9. What are the considerations for leaving assets that could appreciate or depreciate, like property or stocks, to grandchildren?

Leaving appreciable assets requires careful planning around potential capital gains tax implications and considering how to balance the estate among beneficiaries.

10. Can grandparents set conditions on inheritances, such as completing a degree or reaching a certain age?

Yes, conditions can be set, but they must be legally reasonable, not encourage illegal activity, and be clearly outlined in the will or trust documentation.

11. What role does a guardian play if money is left to a minor grandchild and both parents are deceased?

A legal guardian would manage the inherited assets on behalf of the minor grandchild until they reach adulthood, as directed by the trust or will.

12. How do changes in the tax law affect existing wills or trusts set up for grandchildren?

Existing wills or trusts may need to be reviewed and potentially revised in response to tax law changes to ensure they remain efficient and effective.

13. Is it possible to leave a digital legacy, such as online accounts or cryptocurrencies, to grandchildren?

Yes, digital assets can be included in estate planning, but it's important to provide clear instructions for access and transfer, considering the evolving legal landscape.

14. How can grandparents support grandchildren with special needs in their will?

A special needs trust can be established to ensure that a grandchild with disabilities is provided for in a way that does not jeopardize their eligibility for government benefits.

15. What happens if a grandchild predeceases the grandparent?

The will or trust can specify alternative beneficiaries or redistribution of assets among the remaining beneficiaries in such cases.

16. Can grandparents leave a charitable donation in a grandchild's name as part of their inheritance?

Yes, grandparents can arrange for charitable donations in the name of a grandchild, potentially introducing them to philanthropy.

17. What if a grandchild is financially irresponsible at the age of inheritance?

Discretionary trusts can provide trustees with the flexibility to withhold funds until they believe the grandchild is ready to manage the inheritance responsibly.

18. How can grandparents mitigate the impact of potential inheritance disputes among grandchildren?

Clear, detailed instructions in the will and open communication with family members can help mitigate potential disputes.

19. What are the tax implications of selling a property left to grandchildren before they come of age?

Selling property held in trust may result in capital gains tax, and the specifics would depend on how the trust is structured and the timing of the sale.

20. Can grandparents provide for their grandchildren’s pets in their will?

While not directly related to leaving money to grandchildren, grandparents can include provisions for the care of their grandchildren's pets, often as part of a broader consideration of the grandchild's well-being.

These FAQs aim to address areas that individuals might consider when planning to leave money to their grandchildren, beyond the basics covered in the original article. It's crucial to consult with legal and financial advisors to navigate these complex considerations effectively.

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