16th October 2019

Government scraps planned increase in probate fees

The Government has abandoned plans for a new ‘death tax’ following months of widespread public opposition. The changes which were due to take effect last April, were delayed due to Parliament’s all-consuming Brexit talks and have now been postponed indefinitely. Instead probate fees and charges in relation to the running of the family and civil courts will simply be reviewed on an annual basis.

A grant of probate is a court order that authorises the executor of a Will to administer the deceased person’s estate.

The new proposals announced last November would have seen the cost of applying for a grant of probate increase from a fixed fee of £215 (or £155 if you use a solicitor) for estates of over £5,000 to a sliding scale depending on the size of the estate.

Under the planned changes, the wealthiest families with estates of £2 million or more would have been paying fees of up to £6000, a staggering 3771% increase in fees. They also proposed to lift the threshold to £50,000 which would have meant an additional 25,000 estates paying nothing at all.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ), which hoped to raise an additional £185 million a year through these increases, claimed that it needed to raise fees to fund the court system. However, with the cost of the MOJ issuing a grant of probate being the same regardless of the size of the estate, these increases were seen as unfair and disproportionate. Some grieving families would potentially have had to take out loans in order to pay the probate fees to gain access to their inheritance.

For more information as to how we as solicitors can help you with probate work, please contact Edward Walter, Partner at Buss Murton Law LLP on T: 01892 502 320 or E: ewalter@bussmurton.co.uk

Edward Walter

Edward Walter