The controversial planned increase in probate fees has been scrapped ahead of the general election.
Probate fees, which must be paid by personal representatives of estates in order to obtain a grant of probate, were set to increase significantly from May 2017; moving from the current flat amounts (£155 or £215) to a new banded system under which the probate fees would have been £20,000 for estates with a value of £2million or more.
Since being introduced, the proposals had been met with significant opposition, with critics calling the proposed new fees a death tax. But, the Ministry of Justice has pressed on, promising to introduce the necessary Statutory Instrument so that the new banded system would take effect from May 2017.
Two weeks ago the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments raised questions about the legality of the plans and the need for Parliamentary scrutiny: https://www.magma.co.uk/parliamentary-committee-questions-legality-of-probate-fees-increase/
Only two days ago (Wednesday 19 April 2017) regulations for the planned changes were rushed through Parliament; the Government not taking into consideration the comments from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments.
The planned fees increase was to raise around £300million to help towards the running costs of the courts and tribunal service.
Whether or not this issue will resurface after the general election remains to be seen.
If you have any questions about probate and estate administration matters, please contact David Nash or Sarah Gray on 01788 539000.