BSG Solicitors are shocked by the recent news that the government is planning to increase probate fees according to the value of the property left by an individual in their will, despite overwhelming objections from the legal profession and members of the public.
The government have stated that the changes are part of a drive to reduce the cost of running courts and tribunals, and raise £250 million for the Exchequer.
The proposed probate application fees are as follows:
- £300 for estates worth more than £50,000 and up to £300,000
- £1,000 for estates worth more than £300,000 and up to £500,000
- £4,000 for estates worth more than £500,000 and up to £1 million
- £8,000 for estates worth more than £1m and up to £1.6 million
- £12,000 for estates worth more than £1.6m and up to £2 million
- £20,000 for estates worth more than £2 million
Current fees set probate applications through a solicitors at £155 with personal applications, or those not through a solicitor, at £215 regardless of the value of the estate.
Claire Davis, Director, SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly) said:
“SFE is extremely disappointed to see that the consensus to reject the proposed probate fees has been ignored. For the 62% of estates that use a solicitor, probate registry performs a purely administrative role, and the value of the estate has no bearing on the work undertaken. To burden larger estates with a significantly larger fee is an unfair form of taxation. For people in this situation, their property is often their primary asset, and they have little cash to pay for higher probate fees, on top of other necessities such as IHT or the use of a solicitor. The increase in probate fees will place a burden on families at a sensitive and distressing time and is likely to put people who are vulnerable and/or elderly at risk. Our fear is that such clients might be persuaded to take steps to avoid probate fees, even if the effect is to leave them with insufficient assets to provide for themselves for the rest of their life.”
If you too feel strongly about this please voice your objections to your local MP.