Probate fee increase dropped ahead of election

family law

A proposed increase in administration fees for probate cases has been dropped ahead of this summer’s snap general election.

The Ministry of Justice claims that there is not enough time for this legislation to make its way through Parliament before its dissolution in May. That was originally supposed to be the month that these changes would take effect, despite strong criticism from people who called it a “stealth tax on bereaved families”.

These controversial plans would have changed how much someone pays for an application to the Probate Registry. Upon someone’s death, this government-run office issues the paperwork which officially authorises the executor of their estate: the person who will be in charge of their finances and property.

Under the proposed changes, fees would have been set at one of seven levels depending on the size of the estate. Those valued at more than £2 million would have incurred a £20,000 charge, which is represents an enormous increase on the current fees.  Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, people dealing with estates worth less than £50,000 would not have had to pay anything.

Currently applications for a ‘grant of probate’ cost a flat rate of £215 each, or £155 for those made through a lawyer. This is the case for all estates except those worth less than £5,000 as they do not require a fee at all. The government has previously admitted that the Probate Registry covers all its costs under this system.

It is currently unclear if these plans will be revisited should the Conservative Party remain in power after 8 June.

Photo by Don LaVange via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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