Landed estates

By Tolley

The following Trusts and Inheritance Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Landed estates
  • Characteristics
  • Ownership structure
  • Diversity ― a collection of assets or a ‘single composite estate’?
  • A tax planning approach

This guidance note looks at aspects of IHT planning in relation to landed estates.


The term ‘landed estate’ refers to a large house in the country with an extensive area of land around it. Typically, the estate will cover farming and business interests as well as residential accommodation for the owner and tenants. Landed estates may include parkland, woodlands, and property of historical and cultural importance.

A range of inheritance tax reliefs are relevant:

  • APR
  • BPR
  • Heritage property ― conditional exemption
  • Woodlands

Detailed conditions for these individual reliefs and planning points are found in the guidance notes indicated.

Almost by definition, the major part of the wealth in a landed estate will be held in its land and buildings. Traditionally, the property will have been passed down through generations of the same family, and there will be an expectation, or at least a hope, that the estate can be held together as a single entity. In this context, relief from inheritance tax on a transfer of value is of primary importance since a high tax liability could force sales of the properties and a break-up of the estate.

Landed estates are characterised by a diversity of properties and pursuits. In other circumstances, APR or BPR will apply to ‘a business’ or ‘a farm’. One owner may hold several qualifying properties but they are nevertheless distinct and separate. By contrast, a landed estate consists of a range of interdependent business, farming and private interests. Even a quite small landed estate could include a farm, a shop, an exhibition, a private house, a campsite, etc. It is important to consider the application of the reliefs both to the various constituent parts of the estate and to the estate

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