The volatility of the stock market is distracting investors from financial issues such as inheritance tax, warns Peter Aylward, adviser at Jobson James.

Despite inheritance tax (IHT) being most resented tax by 20 per cent of adults it is calculated unnecessary payments are set to rocket more than £360million in 2008. But that sum that could be drastically reduced, Mr Aylward says. “In recent months Jobson James has witnessed an understandable surge in activity from new and existing clients as the financial markets have continued to cause havoc,” he said. “New clients have been so focused on the stock market they have failed to keep up to date with new legislation affecting inheritance tax planning and may end up giving away thousands.”

IHT savings are also lost through not writing life assurance policies in trust, not thinking about inheritance tax allowances and not having an up to date will. “In today’s variable financial climate with £312,000 threshold, more and more people will be affected by IHT, especially home owners who have traditionally thought of themselves as untouched by such a tax issue,” Mr Aylward said. “There are simple methods of avoidance which are worth considering.”