Residence nil rate band and step-child

Dear all

Would anyone be able to clarify whether the definition of ‘step-child’ in Inheritance Tax Act 1984 s8K (3) would require the deceased to have been married (or in a civil-partnership) for that child to be classified as a step-child. In this particular case qualifying property is passing to the daughter of the deceased’s partner (who pre-deceased) but who accepted that daughter as her own and is treated as a mother by that daughter. Any assistance would be appreciated and I apologise if this has been raised before.

Caroline Aimee Mills
Tinklin Springall

The Oxford Dictionary defines a step child as A child of one’s husband or wife by a previous marriage . I think, however much one might wish it, the child of someone with whom one has a casual relationship cannot be a step child.

Julian Cohen
Simons Rodkin

In the absence of any specific definition of “step-child”, the normal definition applies, so that the child of an unmarried partner is not the step-child of the other partner.

In the absence of adoption, it appears that if the deceased was appointed guardian, or was a foster parent, of the child, the residence nil rate allowance may be available (see s.8K (4)-(7) IHTA 1984).

Paul Saunders