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Many Britons are wasting billions of pounds by failing to make provisions for inheritance tax planning, new figures show.

Statistics from Unbiased.co.uk reveal the amount will total £2.2 billion over the course of this year, marking an increase of 16 per cent on figures from 2008.

"Our research shows that extraordinary sums are being lost from estates because the deceased has not made adequate provision for inheritance tax," revealed David Elms, chief executive of Unbiased.co.uk.

Mr Elms believes this can prove an "unwelcome stress" for people as it has to be paid before an estate is released and inheritance passed on to the necessary beneficiaries.

People could end up footing a very large bill as the result of a lack of planning, especially as Norwich Union research showed in recent weeks that 21 per cent of people are unaware they will be required to pay death duty.

Figures also showed over two-thirds of people have little understanding of what inheritance tax is, with 24 per cent thinking the threshold is higher than it actually is.

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