Government U-Turn on Probate Fees

Rebecca Parr  21-04-2017

The proposed huge increase in probate fees, which would have seen court fees of up to £20,000 being charged when someone dies, was due to commence in May. Now it has been announced that the increases will not go ahead.

It seems the reason behind the change of heart is a lack of parliamentary time to push the changes through, between now and the snap general election. Ministers have been questioned about whether the new fees will be implemented, in the event that the Conservatives win the snap election, but they have declined to comment.

On consultation, 98% of lawyers had opposed the plans, and criticism of the proposed increases had been widespread. Concerns had been raised that executors would be forced to borrow money to pay the court fees, before the estate of a loved one could be administered according to the terms of the will, adding extra stress to families at an already difficult time. 

The government was also criticised for attempting to push the changes through as a fee increase, when in fact the sliding scale according to wealth made the increases more akin to a tax (which would require parliamentary consent). 

Whilst the suspension of the planned increases is good news in the short term, it remains to be seen whether the increase in fees has merely been postponed. 

At Samuels Solicitors in Barnstaple, we have decades of experience in helping people deal with the probate of their loved one's estates at a very difficult time. We are happy to talk you through the process with no charge, and with no obligation to instruct us. 

Contact us today for a free discussion about how we can help.