Rocketing house prices and the need for financial security means that inheritance tax is still a key issue for most people - despite the increase in the IHT threshold in April.
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants issued the warning in response to calls for IHT to be abolished.
Chas Roy-Chowdhury, ACCA head of taxation, said: "Currently, 40 per cent of anything left behind in an estate above the new £285,000 nil-rate IHT threshold goes to the Government.
"Despite this rise in the threshold, thousands more people will still have to pay inheritance tax, since house price inflation is running at a much higher level than the overall inflation rate, and this allowance will not keep pace."
His concern came in the wake of a row in the Labour Party this week after a leading Blairite MP called for inheritance tax to be abolished.
Stephen Byers' demands for the next Labour leader to scrap the controversial tax were sharply rebuffed by the Treasury and a former Cabinet colleague.
The tax was "a penalty on hard work, thrift and enterprise", the former Transport Secretary said.
But the Treasury dismissed his proposals as impractical as a series of Labour MPs, including Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling, distanced themselves.
Mr Darling said: "It may make for a headline, but I don't think it makes for a prudent tax and spend policy."
Mr Roy-Chowdhury continued: "ACCA has called upon the Government to overhaul the system with a view to making the main residence exempt from inheritance tax, therefore removing one of the great inequities of the tax system and so reducing the burden on ordinary taxpayers and their families.
"Until the position changes though, it is of paramount importance that sensible tax planning is carried out sooner rather than later to reduce any potential burden."
The first easy step is to make a will. This not only allows individuals to plan carefully how they want their estate and personal belongings to be distributed after their death, but may also help to ensure that the taxman does not end up being the main beneficiary.
The transfer of property and gifts between husband and wife no matter how large in value are exempt from IHT. And as each partner's estate is assessed individually at the time of their death and each qualifies for the nil rate threshold, this provides them with an aggregate exemption of £570,000.
Mr Roy-Chowdhury added: "To make effective use of this a married couple with an estate worth £575,000 can, upon the death of the first spouse, give away up to £285,000 to their beneficiaries without incurring IHT. And the remaining £290,000 of the estate can pass tax-free to the living partner. Upon the death of the second spouse, another £285,000 will be allowed free of IHT, leaving only £5,000 liable to IHT at 40 per cent."
Another way of reducing any IHT liability is financial gifts. These are made during a lifetime and up to £3,000 a year can be made without incurring any IHT liability, with parents able to give up to £5,000 each on a child's marriage. Any number of small gifts of up to £250 per person per year can also be made free of IHT.
Mr Roy-Chowdhury noted: "The challenge of cutting potential IHT bills has recently been made tougher by the closure of tax loopholes which allowed people to give away assets - houses, paintings, boats - while retaining an ability to use them.
"Now, anyone living rent-free in a house given to their children will get an annual income tax bill, based on the rent they should pay for living there."