Controversial plans to increase probate fees are to be scrapped due to the general election. They had been set to rise in May 2017 from as little as £155 up to as much as £20,000 for some estates in England and Wales. The proposals had been dubbed a “stealth death tax”.
The Ministry of Justice is reported by the BBC as saying there is not enough time for the legislation to go through Parliament before it is dissolved for the election.
It is not yet clear whether the proposal will be re-introduced after the election.
Relatives inheriting estates worth more than £300,000 from May this year were to be hit with the huge increases in court fees.
Probate fees consultation
Despite hundreds of negative responses to last year’s consultation on the fee increases, the government planned to ignore all the protests and proceed with the rises anyway.
Some Members of Parliament had raised concerns that the rises may not have been legal.
According to the government’s own figures, the current flat fee already adequately covers the administrative costs for the courts in processing grants of probate – giving executors the right to distribute the proceeds of someone’s will. The current fee does not change whether the value of the estate is worth £5,000 or £5m.
A petition that had been launched against the proposed increases has gathered over 38,000 signatures. Although it was not Bishop Fleming’s campaign, we strongly supported it.
Contact a member of our Probate team if you would like further advice and assistance.
Jon Sparkes, a tax director with Bishop Fleming and with nearly 20 years' experience in advising charities and businesses on direct tax matters, has written an article on the tax issues of community enterprises and mutual…