Nick Latimir of Coodes Solicitors’ Wills, Probate and Trusts team, comments on the Government’s announcement that it will not go ahead with plans to increase probate fees – at least for now.
“I welcome the news that the Government has put on hold its plans to increase probate fees. The proposed changes, which would have seen some families paying up to £20,000 to administer a deceased loved one’s estate, had been vigorously opposed by many. One group that has campaigned against the change from a flat fee to a tiered system was STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners). Here at Coodes, we have a number of STEP members, so are proud that the organisation has helped to halt the change, which would have placed an additional burden on bereaved families.
“The Ministry of Justice says there is not sufficient time to put the legislation through parliament because of the election in June. It is important to note that the issue has not been put to bed. The reason behind the legislation was to raise £300million to fund our courts. So, while the uncertainty around how new fee structure has gone – at least for now – uncertainty remains about how this important funding will be raised. The beneficiary of an estate will pay the current flat fee of £155 or £215, depending on whether or not the application is made through a solicitor.
“So, while the issue has gone away for now, it is likely that the Government will review its position on probate fees again after the election. I will continue to monitor the situation and I’m sure that STEP and other bodies will take a strong stance when the issue is raised again after the general election.”