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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Life Policies: joint life and joint name policies: policies in joint names

There are two different ways that a policy may be described as being ‘joint’. The policy may have joint lives assured (IHTM20081), meaning that the payment of benefits is linked to more than one life. Alternatively the policy may have joint policyholders (IHTM20081), meaning that there are joint owners of the policy. It is possible to have both joint policyholders and joint lives assured of the same policy and, in fact, this is quite common.

Where the deceased was the sole policyholder of a life policy which had joint lives assured, the whole of the policy is an asset of the estate. The open market value (IHTM20083) of the policy should be returned on the IHT410 at question 4 and in box 5. Usually the insurance company will provide the surrender value of the policy at the date of death. See the instructions at IHTM20024.

Where the deceased was a joint policyholder of a life policy question 3 on the IHT410 should have been ticked yes. See the instructions at IHTM20023.