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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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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.