The 'complex' issue of working out inheritance tax was top of the agenda at a free public event hosted by accountants in Carlisle.

Saint & Co accountancy firm, which has offices in Carlisle, Penrith, Whitehaven, Cockermouth and Ambleside, conducted the event at The Auctioneer.

Tax partners Pauline Jackson and Alex Dent, who delivered the session, introduced the issue of inheritance tax and further explained how liabilities are calculated and the reliefs that are available.

For a rough estimate on inheritance tax liabilities, they recommend the following five steps.

They suggest starting by calculating the value of any owned properties globally, assisted by tools like Zoopla.

Money held in cash, investments, or savings should then be considered.

Assets, such as cars, jewellery, or art, must also be evaluated.

After adding up, the total gives an estimate of the value of your estate.

Comparing this against the current allowances, £325,000 for individuals, and £650,000 for couples, is advised.

Exceeding these allowances could mean your estate may be liable for inheritance tax.

Inheritance tax is levied at a rate of 40 per cent on estates exceeding £325,000. However, a supplementary allowance of £175,000 for a residence is granted, but only if it's passed to children or grandchildren.

Spouses have the option to combine their allowances, raising the threshold to £1 million. This has the potential of passing on up to £1 million without paying any inheritance tax.

Ms Dent said: “We were thrilled with how well attended the session was - inheritance tax is clearly an issue of interest and concern to many.

“I think what surprises many people is how quickly, once assets are calculated, that an individual or married couple can find themselves with an estate that will be liable to inheritance tax.”

Ms Jackson, who has worked at Saint & Co for 25 years, introduced the session. She said: “Inheritance tax is affecting more and more people, as property prices soar and personal wealth - especially among generations such as the Baby Boomers - continues to accumulate.

“Our five-point guide to checking whether you may be subject to inheritance tax is a basic starter. This is a very nuanced and complex area that requires specialist knowledge and advice.

“Hopefully those who attended our Inheritance Tax for Beginners session left with a decent understanding of what it could mean to them and the initial actions they need to take to work towards managing any liability.”