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Probate Fees to Rise in May 2017?

Current probate fees are £215 or £155 for those applying through a solicitor.

On the new scale, estates worth between £1.6m and £2m will be charged £12,000. While below £50,000 will be exempt from charges. Estates worth between £50,000 and £300,000 will pay £300.

But why the sudden rise in fees? This is in an effort to raise an extra £250m a year to fund the courts and tribunal service.

The money currently raise through the Probate Service covers the cost of the service, however the Ministry of Justice wants to reduce the £1.1bn bill on taxpayers to cover the cost of funding the courts and tribunals system.

There was some opposition to the proposed raise;

Joyce Bradbeer, a probate partner at Moore Blatch, said: ‘Although moving the proposed fee structure from a flat to a banded fee is, in certain cases, deemed fairer and more progressive than the current structure, it also means that those with larger estates will be paying significantly more, even though the work that the Probate Registry has to do is virtually the same whatever the value of the estate.'

National firm Irwin Mitchell pointed out that, of 831 respondents to the Ministry of Justice's consultation on the charges, less than 2% were in favour.

Sarah Phillips, partner, said the changes amounted to a ‘new form of taxation’.

However, this is all subject to parliamentary approval.

This article is in reference to the original by the Law Society Gazette.

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