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Probate fee hike put on hold

Today, the Government have confirmed that the planned changes to the probate fee system have been placed on hold. The new fees, expected to take effect in May, will remain on hold at least until after the general election.

The Ministry of Justice have said that there is not sufficient time for the legislation to pass through parliament, ahead of its closure, prior to the election. 

The proposed changes meant that, although estates worth less than £50,000 would be exempt from paying any probate fee, those valued at more than £50,000 would face significantly increased charges, up to the sum of £20,000 as opposed to the current fixed rate of £215 (or £155 for those applying via a professional body).

Pitched by the MoJ as a ‘fee’ and not a ‘tax’ the proposals would follow a passage through parliament that avoids the scrutiny applied to tax changes and it has now even gone on to admit that it does not know the true cost to the public purse of processing probate.

From the beginning, the plans have faced strong opposition from accountants, law firms and individuals alike. A committee of MP’s objected too, accusing the MoJ of acting outside of its remit, stating that the charges had all the ‘hallmarks of taxes’ and were wholly ‘disproportionate’ when compared with the service provided by The Probate Registry.

Despite this, the MoJ appeared not to be phased and remained intent on implementing the changes.

Government officials will not confirm whether the ‘death tax’ has been scrapped forPicture1234 good, purporting it to be an issue for the next Government to deal with.

As Director of Probate here at GH Probate Ltd. I have followed this story in utter disbelief. I, as I’m sure many others will too, welcome this move. The proposed increases were quite clearly unreasonable and extremely excessive. Following this news, we can only hope that the Government will take on board the hugely negative response received during the consultation period.

We will monitor this closely and report on any further updates.

To find out more about our Probate services, click here.

GH Probate is the trading style of GH Probate Limited. Registered in England and Wales number 9630102. Registered Office: St George’s House, George Street, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE29 3GH.
Authorised to carry out
the reserved legal activity of non-contentious probate in England and Wales by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales

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