Probate fee increases come to the fore again
In an article published on our website at the end of January we highlighted the intentions of the Ministry of Justice to press ahead with the proposed increase of probate fees. Those proposals are to introduce fees on a sliding scale with estates worth in excess of £2million facing a fee of £6,000.
Those proposals are now set to go before MPs and the House of Commons this week.
If passed the changes will come into force in April 2019.
The Institute of Legacy Management have expressed their disappointment at the government's plans to press ahead stating “We would ask MP’s to consider whether the charges are justified. We also hope that the government will consider exempting charitable estate from the new charges”.
The Law Society commented that the changes are not in the public interest and that the cost to the courts for granting probate does not change whether the estate is worth £50,0000 or £2 million.
Whilst the proposals were approved by the House of Lords before Christmas, peers voted through an amendment to express “regret” at the changes which amounted to a “misuse of fee levying power”.
Abbie Kingdon, senior private client solicitor at Samuels Solicitors LLP says “the proposed increases expected within less than two months is likely to put huge pressure on solicitors and those applying without a solicitor to get Grants of Representation issued prior to the increases coming into force. For those caught by the increases, a guidance document has yet to be seen on ways the increased fee can be paid.”