Following this week's vote confirming a General Election on June 8, the Government has today announced there will be insufficient time in this Parliament to bring in the proposed probate fee hike.
Earlier this month, a Parliamentary Committee decided the proposed change in the probate fee structure from a set figure of £155 to a potential maximum figure of £20,000 was beyond the powers of the Justice Minister Liz Truss (above) and illegal. The committee concurred with the views of KWW Solicitors and other law firms that the charges were more akin to a tax than a 'fee'.
The Government indicated it was intent on pressing ahead with the changes but a spokesman today said it could not confirm whether or not the proposed fee increase would be reintroduced in the event of the Conservatives being re-elected.
"It's good news for now," said KWW senior partner and probate specialist Gary Coleman, "but there's no guarantee the issue will go away, which is why all of us at KWW will continue to lobby our MPs to drop this new death tax".
To recap, the proposal is that probate fees will be charged to everyone whose estate is valued at more than £50,000 regardless of whether Inheritance Tax is payable by that estate.
As such, widows and charities will also be required to pay the new probate fees that can go up to £20,000 for a larger estate of £2m but which will more typically in our area be £1,000 for an estate valued £300,000-£500,000 and £4,000 for an estate valued £500,000- £1m.
If you would like to know more about the probate process or have any queries regarding wills, probate or lasting powers of attorney, just contact us.