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Probate Hike Uncertain Due To Surprise Election

29 May 2017

Posted in Probate

News that the current Tory government has extinguished plans to massively increase probate fees before the upcoming election, has raised the possibility that the proposals could be completely scrapped.

Probate Solicitor in London and elsewhere were very vocal about the hugely controversial Ministry of Justice scheme to raise £300m a year extra by charging up to £20,000 for large estates was authorised by the justice secretary.

However, now that the Government has confirmed that the relevant form of legislation that allows a parliamentary act to be made or altered without a vote by MPs, will not now be completed before the election.

So, it will be up to the Government after June’s election to decide whether to push through the plans, and although it seems likely to be another Tory triumph there is no certainty that this will happen even if he Conservatives sweeps back into power.

When obtaining a grant of probate, someone – usually the executor of a will or a person acting on their behalf – is given the authority to deal with all the finances and possessions of someone after they pass away.

The proposed new fees would have ranged from nothing for estates valued at up to £50,000, to £20,000 for estates worth more than £2m, which would have replaced a current flat rate of £215 if an application is made by an individual.

Whilst the ministry said the charges were fair, many others argued it was a disproportionate hike and we at Pindoria Solicitors like many others felt it somewhat extreme. According to the broadsheet press no decision has been made about whether to proceed with the rises after June.

According to the Ministry of Justice, higher probate fees are called for to keep the courts and tribunals service functioning. In recent years, many attempts to introduce higher court fees have had to be withdrawn following opposition from the legal profession.

Unquestionably, this all is good news especially for those with properties in London and the South East, which has the most expensive properties in the UK. However, the news will mean there is even more of a hole for the exchequer to fill, so it will be interesting to see what happens when the new Government put their plans in place in early summer.