The average estate leaves £90,000 net of tax and the average amount received by each individual is £17,500. This suggests that, on average, people share out their bequests between five people. Some 10 per cent of beneficiaries receive £50,000 or more. A further 30 per cent receive £10,000 or more, enough to make a down-payment on a home or pay off a sizeable amount of a mortgage.
The individual threshold from the current £325,000 2009/10 tax year is set to increase by 7 per cent to £350,000 in 2010/11.
It is possible to pass the unused proportion of a nil-rate band to your spouse or civil partner for use in the future.
Sources: HM Revenue & Customs
& International Longevity Centre UK 2008