The Government has announced plans to scrap the rises in probate fees, which will no doubt be welcome news to many bereaved families.
As it currently stands, the Court charges flat probate fees of £215, or £155 with a solicitor. However, the controversial “grief tax” was due to be replaced by a newer, sliding scale. Estates worth between £50,000 and 300,000 would have been charged £250 – but for estates worth £2million or more would carry a maximum charge of £6,000.
Whilst those estates worth less than £50,000 would have seen their probate abolished altogether, many would have found themselves paying more and in some cases, thousands of pounds in additional taxes.
The new fees were due to come into force in April following the Draft Non-Contentious Probate (Fees) Order 2018. However, this draft statutory instrument (SI) lapsed following the lawful progression of the 2017-19 parliamentary session on 8 October 2019 and the Government has subsequently indefinitely delayed the new changes. Instead, they will now be reviewed as part of the annual assessment of charges in family and civil courts.
For the time being, fees will remain at £215 for estates over £5,000, or £155 if families apply through a solicitor. The news will no doubt be a welcome relief to many families, as well as practitioners working in the probate and charities fields.
Law Society president Simon Davis said: “We campaigned vigorously against the increase on behalf of bereaved families and are relieved the government has listened to reason. It is inherently unfair to expect the bereaved to fund other parts of the courts and tribunal service when they have no other option but to apply for probate.”
If you would like any advice relating to your will, or you are interested in receiving more information about Lasting Power of Attorney, contact the Private Client team at Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.