It was Benjamin Franklin who once said there was nothing certain in life except death and taxes. And when the two come together is the subject of a study published this morning by Goodbody Stockbrokers on inheritance and succession planning.

Dermot O'Leary, chief economist with Goodbody, said the study was born of experience over the years of clients coming in and looking for ways to transfer wealth in an efficient manner. They decided to put it all together in a report, accompanied by a survey of people's attitudes and experience of transferring wealth. Tax, unsurprisingly, emerged as the major issue. 

"The tax threshold has plummeted over the last 10 years. It went from €500,000 to €250,000 and back up to €310,000. Households are wealthier than they think. In Ireland, it's very concentrated in property. Half of household wealth is tied up in a primary residence and another 30% of wealth is in other properties. People get a surprise on the death of a relative when they end up with a significant tax liability. This is about minimising that liability and there are ways to do it," the economist said. 

Mr O'Leary said there were a number of instruments in place to manage this, such as giving while living. "There's the option of a tax free gift of €3,000 per year. That can minimise it over time. There are other exemptions for business and farms. One of the things that stood out in this study is that although 80% of people want to do things tax efficiently, only half have sought the advice of experts. There's a contradiction there," he explained.

Dermot O'Leary said many of the issues were particularly pressing for Ireland with its unique demographic structure and the unique structure in terms of wealth accumulation. "A lot of it is due to the scale of the crash. The 35-44 age cohort here are significantly more indebted than the rest of Europe but we have an older population that's significantly wealthier. That will become an issue as Ireland ages over the next twenty years," he concluded.

MORNING BRIEFS - Shares in Greencore are down again in London this morning after falling over 1% yesterday after news of the merger between Sainsbury and Asda. Greencore is the sole sandwich supplier to both chains and there are fears a merger will add to pricing pressure on suppliers. Greencore shares had been recovering after a massive hit in March when it issued a profit warning.

*** Apple will report second quarter earnings tonight. The figures are keenly anticipated and the company's stock has fallen by 8% in the past two weeks. Investors are anxious after analysts lowered expectations for iPhone sales.

*** Manufacturing growth rebounded in April from the 12 month low in March, although that was down to the exceptionally bad weather in the month. The measure of manufacturing activity from Investec pointed to a 59th month of expansion, but growth in new orders and new export orders fell to their slowest rates since 2016.

*** Oil giant BP has reported what it was its best quarterly result in three years on the back of higher oil prices. It announced a $2.6 billion profit for the first three months, up from $1.5 billion in the same period last year - a 71% rise. Oil prices have rebounded of late with brent crude hovering around the $70 dollars a barrel mark.