Turmoil in parliament holds up a rise in probate fees

The proposal for an increase in probate fees has been put on hold due to the issues in talks in parliament. It’s not yet know that the fess will increase or if they ever will be.

The current flat fees are £215, or £155 where a solicitor is involved.  The plans were to introduce a band system that caps fees at 0.5% of the value of the estate, with a maximum fee being £6,000. There would also be a change to the exemption systems with an increase from £5,000 to £50,000

The government change in the exemption threshold would lead to 25,000 estates not having a fee to pay, and approximately 80% of all estates will pay fees of £750 or less.

Despite controversy, Ministry of Justice approved the changes stating they were fair. The main argument being that the fees were needed riding costs of administration in the court system.

There was set to be a vote to approve the motion in February 2019 within the House of Commons. Unfortunately, the prorogation of Parliament meant the motion lapsed. If the motion is to go ahead, it will need to be reintroduced in the next session.

Another election will confuse the matter even further.

The Law Society president Simon Davis stated “Not only would these charges have been excessive but they could have caused significant cash flow issues for the bereaved.

“The cost to the courts does not change whether an estate is worth £50,000 or £2 million. Asking larger estates to pay more would have upped the level of inheritance tax by the back door.

“Should the order be reintroduced; we will continue to campaign against its introduction. This is a tax on grief.”

As such the Law Society has welcomed the fact that the motion has been prolonged due to the increase being unfair and unjustified.

Please contact us if you would like more information about making a will or applying for probate.