Following a recent Government announcement many bereaved families will pay more in probate fees starting in April 2019.
These fees are paid when administering someone's estate after they die. They will be paid on a sliding scale depending on how much the estate is worth, rather than as a flat fee.
Currently, families pay a flat £215, or £155 if they apply through a solicitor, on estates over £5,000.
This threshold will be increased to £50,000 in April, so estates valued between £50,000 and £300,000 will now pay a fee of £250.
Those between £300,001 and half a million pounds will pay £750, while estates between £500,001 and a million will pay £2,500 to make a grant of probate application. Estates valued at over £2 million will pay £6,000.
According to the Ministry of Justice, this means an extra 25,000 estates a year will not have to pay any fees at all. In other words estates worth less than £50,000 will pay nothing.
The Ministry of Justice said the new system of payments will contribute to the running of the courts and tribunal service. But critics have described this as a stealth tax.
Among them is George Hodgson, chief executive of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.
He said "The new charges bear no relation to the cost of probate, and are simply another form of taxation, sneaked in through the back door.”
"The government has failed to explain why it is choosing to place this burden on bereaved families, many of whom will have spent months or years paying expensive care fees for their elderly relatives."
Our Wills and Probate team can advise you on ways to mitigate the impact of these fee increases as part of their work in reviewing your Wills and succession planning.
To find out more contact Caroline Wallis, Head of the Wills and Probate team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01256 854637.