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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Dispositions for the maintenance of the transferor's family: maintenance of the transferor's children

A disposition (IHTM04023) is not a transfer of value (IHTM04024) if it is made by one party to a marriage or civil partnership (IHTM11032) and is both

  • in favour of a child of either party, IHTA84/S11 (1)(a) and
  • for that child’s maintenance, education or training for a period ending not later than the year ending 5 April in which the child


  • attains 18, or
  • after attaining 18, ceases to undergo full-time education, IHTA84/S11 (1)(b).

The definition of ‘child’ (IHTM04172) does not include an illegitimate child, but a disposition in favour of an illegitimate child of the transferor can qualify under IHTA84/S11 (4), see below.

In view of the definition of ‘marriage’ or ‘civil partnership’, (IHTM04163) IHTA84/S11 covers a disposition in favour of a child of a former marriage or civil partnership if the disposition is made on the occasion of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage or civil partnership, or if it varies a disposition so made.

A gift by way of settlement is not within IHTA84/S11 (1)(b) if the child can receive benefits under the settlement after reaching 18 and ceasing to undergo full-time education or training.

Children who have attained 18 come within IHTA84/S11 (1)(b) only until they cease to undergo full-time education or training. In applying this provision

  • you should disregard a mere temporary gap in full-time education, e.g. vacation jobs or service with Voluntary Service Overseas between school and university,
  • if, exceptionally, you have to consider the application of IHTA84/S11 before the child has resumed full-time education, you may provisionally accept that IHTA84/S11 applies if the evidence supports this assumption,
  • but if the child does not in fact resume full-time education, you should consider dispositions made after the child left school which have been treated as within IHTA84/S11,
  • a disposition in favour of a child who had clearly ceased full-time education and taken a job (other than a purely temporary one) but had later decided to resume full-time education is not within IHTA84/S11.

IHTA84/S11 (4) contains a provision similar to IHTA84/S11 (1)(b), see above, for dispositions for the maintenance, education or training of the transferor’s illegitimate children. IHTA84/S11 (4) does not cover dispositions for the illegitimate children of anyone else, such as the transferor’s spouse or civil partner. In considering whether a disposition is for the maintenance, education or training of the child for the appropriate period, apply the relevant part of the above instructions on IHTA84/S11 (1)(b).