Government scrap plans to raise probate fees

Plans to raise the legal fees payable after death are to be scrapped ahead of the general election.

‘The statutory instrument on probate fees won’t have time to complete its passage through Parliament so it will be a matter for the new government,’ said a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice.

Probate fees had been due to rise, from £155 if done through a Solicitor or £215 for a personal application, up to £20,000 for some estates in England and Wales from May.

Under the proposed changes, this system would have been replaced by a sliding fee scale linked to the value of the estate.

Estates worth more than £50,000 and up to £300,000 would have attracted fees of £300, rising to £20,000 for those valued at more than £2m. The new system would also have seen the threshold below which no fee was payable increased from £5,000 to £50,000, lifting an estimated additional 25,000 estates per year out of the requirement to pay a probate fee.

Rebecca Lauder of BSG Solicitors commented:

‘I’m delighted to hear that these plans have been scrapped. The rises for larger estates were disproportionate and equated to a 13,000 percent increase. The Government have not confirmed whether these increases are gone forever, but we hope whoever wins the election considers the position very carefully. In the public consultation on the plans, of the 831 responses just 13 agreed with the proposals.”