March 31, 2016

Anger grows over plans for probate fees increase

An investigation by a national newspaper found that the new regime would have significant implications, with as many as 2.5million UK households facing the prospect of paying at least £1,000.

The changes will be felt most keenly in London and the South East, where property prices have risen dramatically in recent years.

Tens of thousands of families in this region could be hit with bills of up to £20,000 in order to action their relatives’ wills.

Justin Modray, from the consumer group Candid Money, was among those who have urged the Ministry of Justice to scrap the proposed increases. He described the changes as an attempt to introduce “a stealth property tax.”

“Huge numbers of middle-class families across the country who have seen the value of their homes soar will be caught out,” he said.

“It seems like an obscene amount of money to charge for a service which is essentially the same regardless of the size of your estate.”

The chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, Jonathan Isaby, had similar concerns about the impact of the changes.

“Politicians seeking to reduce the deficit need to look at cutting wasteful spending rather than finding ways to extract even more money from us all.”

In the teeth of fierce opposition, the MoJ has attempted to defend the proposals, arguing that they would pave the way for a far fairer system.

“These proposals are progressive,” a spokesman said. “The fee would never exceed one per cent of the value of an estate.”

A consultation into the fee increases is set to end tomorrow (April 1st).

For legal advice on administering probate, please contact Tony Millson and Deanna Hurst in Royds’ Private Client team.

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