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Rise in probate fees set to raise millions

The wealthy are to be hit by a new tax as the government sets about shifting the burden of probate from the middle classes.

If the plans go ahead, there will be a huge rise in probate fees for properties valued at more than £2million, a move that is set to raise the Treasury an additional £250million a year.

Under the proposals, the current flat fee of £215 will be replaced by a tiered system what would see estates worth more than £2million paying as much as £20,000.

Considering the huge rise in property value throughout the UK in recent years, many families will find themselves hit by the tax when a loved one passes away.

Shailesh Vara, justice minister, said that he wanted to see a “simpler, more streamlined process for probate applications.”
The tiered system would introduce a minimum threshold of £50,000, which would result in over half of the UK estates not paying a fee at all.

Vicky Sladdin, specialist wills and probate solicitor, at Atherton Godfrey said: “These proposals would certainly hit some families very hard, but lower value estates would be exempt from paying a fee at all.

At the moment, estates up to £5,000 pay court fees of £155 if a solicitor deals with the application.

Only around half the deaths in the UK lead to an application for grant of probate; this is only necessary if someone needs the authority to deal with the property and belongings of the deceased.

Anyone concerned that they may be hit by excessive probate fees should seek legal advice from an expert in probate matters who will be able to discuss the options available to them.”

If you need advice about making a Will or dealing with someone's estate, please contact a member of our specialised Wills and Probate department who will be happy to help. Call 01302 320621 or email info@athertongodfrey.co.uk

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