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Beware of a new stealth tax – Grant of Probate Court Fees

23 February, 2016

The Ministry of Justice has issued a consultation paper in which it proposes to increase applications for Grants of Probate in England & Wales.

Currently an application, if made by a Solicitor is £155. This was itself an increase of 344% from the £45 fee pre April 2014.

The proposed charges will relate to the value of the estate on a percentage fee basis ranging from £300 – £20,000 (on estates from with a value of £50,000 to £2 million respectively).
Concern will turn towards vulnerable individuals who may see increased pressure on them to gift away assets before they die in order to reduce these fees. It is also unclear how there will be access to these funds if an individual has for example a valuable house, but limited savings.

The government has argued that the revenue earned from the increases in fees (thought to be in the region of £250 million) will go towards courts and services, but many will see this as simply a further tax on death. We await developments.

If you require any further information on this, then please do not hesitate to contact Sue Adams, a Solicitor, Partner and Head of the Private Client team specialising in Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Grants of Probate on 01202 204 561 or alternatively at sueadams@steeleraymond.co.uk.

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