Probate fees: the saga is finally over

16 October 2019

We blogged previously about the impending stealth tax the government planned to introduce. In our last blog we had no update. The good news is we now have an update: the controversial probate fee hike has been scrapped!

The Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland has announced that the proposed enormous increase in probate fees has been scrapped. We understand that the statutory instrument which was awaiting parliamentary approval will be withdrawn.

This is a welcomed u-turn on the proposition which was seeing inheritance tax rise increase by 61% for an estate worth £50,000 to £300,000, and 3,771% for estates worth £2 million and above. For the time being, fees will remain at £155 for estates over £5,000, or £215 if making a personal application.

The proposals triggered the rush of probate applications submitted early to pre-empt the fees rise, which caused a serious backlog at the Probate Service. Unfortunately these problems still persist, but the hope for practitioners and grieving families is that the processing times for probate applications will now return to the pre April 2019 norms.

Regardless of the return to status quo, there are murmurs of an inheritance tax reform which may bring changes in the probate (and court) fee structure. So, watch this space!

Further information

For further information on the issues raised in this blog, please contact a member of our private client team.

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