Probate rise unlawful says parliamentary committee
Thursday 6th April 2017
The Government’s planned changes to probate fees were hailed as unlawful by a parliamentary panel of experts yesterday.
The changes, due to come into effect in May 2017, would affect all individuals inheriting an estate worth more than £50,000. Those inheriting estates worth more than £2million would be hit by a fee increase of more than 9,000 per cent - a rise from £215 to £20,000.
Duncan Bailey, partner and head of private client at law firm Brabners, said: “Yesterday’s verdict is a major setback for the planned probate rise. Despite 95 per cent of respondents disagreeing with the initial proposals, the Government was set to push ahead with the increase. This new development may mean the policy needs to be rethought.
“As the assets of a will are not released until probate has been granted, for many the changes would spark a need for financial assistance – adding further administrative burdens to people who are going through a period of distress.
“This is a sensitive matter and changes that essentially amount to a ‘new inheritance tax' need to be dealt with accordingly by the government. While the situation remains uncertain, we would urge those considering an application for probate to do so as soon as possible to avoid being hit by the new fees.”