Justice secretary, Robert Buckland QC has said the proposed increase in probate fees will no longer be pursued.
Currently, probate court fees are set at a fixed fee of £215 (£155 with a solicitor).
The proposal, however, saw fees to be set at a sliding scale linked to the value of the estate, with estates worth more than £2 million facing a maximum fee of £6,000.
This charge is in addition to inheritance tax.
Thomson Snell & Passmore welcomes the government’s announcement to drop the probate fee increase, which has been described by the Law Society President, Simon Davis as “a tax on grief”.
The plans were particularly controversial since bereaved families do not have a choice whether to apply for probate if the estate meets certain requirements. Bereaved families were also faced with little information as to how the increased fees would be introduced and what their options would be in order to meet the great fee hike.
In addition, all grant applications involve the same amount of work. The sliding scale of fees did not reflect the true administration costs for the court service to deal with a probate application.
We are pleased that this issue, which has caused so much alarm to families and had the potential to inflict ongoing distress, has been resolved, and would echo the Law Society President’s comments that “in its review of court fees government should bear in mind that it is a false economy to impose charges that go beyond cost recovery. Equal access to justice is a fundamental part of the rule of law.”
Published October 2019