What is an Excepted Estate?

Usually, if an estate has no Inheritance Tax to pay, it will be an excepted estate. However, this is not always the case. Some estates that don't owe Inheritance Tax aren't excepted estates, and you must fill in a full Inheritance Tax account (form IHT400).

For deaths after 1 September 2006, the estate will generally be an excepted estate if one of the following applies:

•    it's a low value estate - valued at under the Inheritance Tax threshold (£325, 000 in 2010-11 tax year) but see more about thresholds in the section below
•    it's an exempt estate - the deceased person left everything (or everything over and above the Inheritance Tax threshold) to a spouse or civil partner living in the UK or to a 'qualifying' charity (and the estate is valued at under £1 million)
•    the deceased person was a 'foreign domiciliary' - they lived permanently abroad and died abroad and the value of their UK assets is under £150, 000
This means you'll probably need to fill in form IHT205 Return of Estate Information (or form C5 in Scotland) as part of the probate process.