February 25, 2016

Concerns about proposed changes to probate fees

The new regime, which is expected to raise around £250million for the Treasury each year, would see estates worth in excess of £2million paying £20,000 fees.

This is more than one hundred times the current level.

Jonathan Smithers, president of the Law Society, said that while there was some merit to changing the probate process, the options being proposed were flawed.

“We support the Ministry of Justice’s aim of a simpler, more streamlined process for probate users,” he said.

“Many people would regard a progressive fee structure as a fairer way to charge for the service, but the fees proposed for high value estates do not bear any relation to the work or value involved. We will put forward our arguments in our written response to the consultation.”

Despite a number of concerns raised within the legal profession, the Government has attempted to make the case that the changes would make for a fairer system.

Writing to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee, Justice Minister Shailesh Vara said: “These proposals are progressive, with lower-value estates lifted out of paying any fee at all and other estates only paying more as the value of estate increases.

“They are also necessary, making a significant contribution to reducing the deficit and enabling investment, which will transform the courts and tribunals service.”

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

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