Average Inheritance (and Inheritance Tax) in the UK

Every wonder what the average amount inherited is? Or how much inheritance tax people pay? NimbleFins data experts break down data gathered by HMRC to illustrate typical estate values by gender, age and asset class.

Average Inheritance

The average net estate value was £334,173 in 2019/20. This figure reflects 278,000 estates that were notified to HMRC. As discussed below in the limitations section, this reflects around half of all deaths and does not include data from estates that did not have to go through the probate process in order to transfer their wealth.

In the table below, you can see a breakdown of estate value by asset class—e.g. of those with securities, how much securities they have, and so on. You'll notice that the sum of the values in each asset class does not equal the total capital value. This is because not everyone owns every asset class. For example, if someone only owned some cash and securities but no home, their data would contribute to the cash, securities and total net capital figures, but they wouldn't have any data impacting the other asset classes like residential buildings. Only those owning their own home (with or without a mortgage) would contribute data to the UK residential buildings category, and so on.

You can also see the data by total asset value bucket. Each column shows a different bucket size for total value of assets. For example, those with a total net capital value of between £0 and £50,000 appear in the first data column. Those with more than £2,000,000 in total appear in the second to last column. So, for instance, of those with a total net capital value of more than £2,000,000, those with any securities have an average of £2,015,564 of securities. Those with a total net capital value in the £0 to £50,000 range have around £10,169 of securities (if they have any securities).

This data is interesting because it helps you see how people broadly allocate across different asset classes, and the size of debt like loans and mortgages.

Value of assets passing at death by size of net estate

by net estate range:£0 - £50,000£50,000 - £100,000£100,000 - £200,000£200,000 - £300,000£300,000 - £500,000£500,000 - £1,000,000£1,000,000 - £2,000,000£2,000,000+Average
Insurance policies£7,639£12,019£15,446£21,295£35,760£71,380£136,449£263,158£32,353
UK residential buildings£95,758£95,455£133,099£193,562£272,532£401,929£630,534£1,305,310£246,078
Other buildings and landn/an/a£103,158£85,461£123,664£208,520£380,488£1,432,161£315,927
Loans and other assets£7,432£8,428£9,003£11,858£14,600£31,361£82,345£593,156£22,819
Other debts and funeral expenses£27,818£10,118£6,711£7,223£9,081£11,495£24,387£98,141£11,447
Total net capital value£22,440£76,786£150,127£243,386£378,072£656,338£1,265,823£4,290,909£334,173

The net estate (or net capital value) is defined as the value of assets less the value of liabilities in the estate of the deceased person.

by gender and marital status

It's probably not a surprise, but men tend to have more assets at death than women. On average, women die with £315,789 of net capital value and men with £356,349 (13% more).

Those who are married or widowed typically have more than those who are single or divorced—this applies to both men and women. Men typically have the most if they are married when they pass; women if they are widowed.

Total net capital value of estate passing on deathMarriedWidowedOther (single, divorced or n/a)Average
Chart showing average UK inheritance at death by gender and marital status

by age

Unsurprisingly, estates value is related to age at death—those who are older when they pass have had more time to accumulate assets.

Chart showing average UK inheritance by age at death
Value of estate passing on death (by age)45 to 64 years65 to 74 years75 to 84 years85+ years
Number of estates5,27011,20026,40049,500
Insurance policies£62,768£26,823£26,976£30,563
UK residential buildings£221,379£224,306£241,325£259,916
Other buildings and land£208,758£281,410£363,063£335,689
Loans and other assets£42,541£30,897£22,188£17,339
Gross capital value£280,000£318,182£343,321£370,290
Other debts and funeral expenses-£15,954-£15,758-£11,347-£9,561
Total net capital value£258,333£303,523£331,658£358,696

Average Inheritance Tax

Estates with under £325,000 don't pay any inheritance tax (IHT). So you'll see no tax was paid for net estates with less than this amount. But how much do larger estates pay? Those with between £300,00 and £500,000 paid on average £27,100 of IHT. Those with £500,000 to £1,000,000 paid on average £83,600 of IHT. Those with £1 million to £2 million paid on average £217,000. And estates valued at more than £2,000,000 paid on average £1,050,000 of IHT.

Net estate (lower limits)2019 to 2020 average tax (£)

Below, we flip the IHT paid and estate/asset values around so you can see a break out the average assets of those paying different levels of IHT. For example, those paying no IHT had an average of £256,078 of net capital. At the other end of the spetrum, those paying more than £1,000,000 of IHT had an average net capital value of £7,066,116.

Assets by range of tax liability (lower limits)£0£1£25,000£50,000£100,000£200,000£300,000£500,000£1,000,000+Average
Insurance policies£23,926£81,739£91,638£90,164£116,800£138,211£177,817£208,791£323,699£32,353
UK residential buildings£216,757£355,742£379,699£415,042£496,000£605,556£739,130£981,308£1,888,000£246,078
Other buildings and land£198,403£287,324£309,353£405,340£384,454£607,143£570,225£729,412£1,460,094£315,927
Loans and other assets£14,831£36,842£44,251£56,995£73,415£86,070£125,543£250,413£882,184£22,819
Gross capital value£267,315£619,154£683,735£805,869£1,045,952£1,368,182£1,738,693£2,596,899£7,258,953£347,143
Other debts and funeral expenses£9,854£15,262£17,846£15,545£19,556£22,685£43,077£62,500£114,047£11,447
Total net capital value£256,078£594,655£656,627£780,543£1,017,505£1,331,818£1,683,417£2,511,628£7,066,116£334,173


There are many limitations to the data in this article, some of which are explained below. But primarily, the issue is that the data reflects estates notified to HMRC by the UK Courts Services, but not estates which were not notified to HMRC. For this reason, please use this data for general informational and interest purposes only.

This data reflects the roughly 280,000 estates with a net capital value in 2019 - 20. But there were 612,000 deaths in the UK that year. Of these, 42.3% were not taxed; 3.76% were taxed; and the rest would have been exempt and therefore not require a grant of representation; and the data would not be included in these statistics.

Depending on how the deceased owned their assets and who they are transferring them to on their death, in many cases a grant of representation isn’t required—and as a result their passing & assets may or may not be included in the data here. For instance, when two married or civil partnered individuals own a house, they can choose to own it as ‘joint tenants’. In other words, they both own 100% of the property and have equal rights to it. When one in the couple passes away, that doesn’t impact the share of the remaining partner. However, if they owned the house as ‘tenants in common’ (i.e. a 50% share each), then a will and grant of representation would be required on the death of one in the partnership to state who their 50% share should be transferred to on their death. For individuals whose estate had to go through the probate process in order to transfer their wealth, their details will appear in the statistics. If probate wasn’t required due to the way individuals owned their assets, then their details won’t appear in the statistics as no legal wealth transfer has taken place and HMRC won’t have been informed.


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