14 October, 2019
The government have abandoned plans introduced earlier this year to significantly increase probate fees, which would have seen bereaved families paying up to £6,000 for grants of probate.
Under the government's proposals, probate fees would have risen from the current fixed fee of £215 - or £155 with a solicitor - to a sliding scale of up to £6,000 depending on the size of the estate.
Several organisations, including the Law Society and Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP), campaigned against the proposed fee hike. Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said that he had "listened very carefully to the strong views aired on proposed new probate fees".
He said: "While fees are necessary to properly fund our world-leading courts system, they must be fair and proportionate. We will withdraw these proposals, and keep the current system while we take a closer look at these court fees as part of our annual wider review."
President of the Law Society Simon Davis said: "A hike in probate fees would have been a tax on grief … it is inherently unfair to expect the bereaved to fund other parts of the courts and tribunal service when they have no other option but to apply for probate"
Probate fees were due to increase in April this year, prompting a spike in probate applications in March. The surge in applications coincided with the rollout of malfunctioning government software and solicitors subsequently faced delays of up to 13 weeks for grants of probate.
For more information contact Jane Burbidge in our Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts department via email or phone on 01772 220156. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.