Succession: Simultaneous deaths (commorientes): IHT position
IHTA84/S4(2) applies for the purpose of charging Inheritance Tax where:
- two or more persons die in circumstances in which the order of their deaths is uncertain, and
- under Law & Property Act/S184 or Succession Act 1964/ S31(1)(b), for the purposes of devolution the younger is presumed to have survived the elder.
In this situation and for the sole purpose of applying IHTA84/S4(1), S4(2) overrides the presumption by providing that the deaths are to be treated as simultaneous.
You should note that
- S4(2) does not affect the devolution of the estates
- there is a similar provision to S4(2) in IHTA84/S54(4) which applies only for the purposes of settled property reverter to settlor relief (IHTM16121)
- neither S4(2) nor S54(4) apply to deaths where there is evidence of who died first even if only a very short interval existed between the deaths, and
- the effect of S4(2) is considered separately in relation to the deaths of each of the younger and the elder.