Theresa May scraps the proposed probate fee hike

Posted on: April 21st, 2017

Theresa May has scrapped plans to increase probate fees by as much as £20,000.

We are delighted to hear the proposed increase in probate fees have been dropped by the government. It was very clear from the offset that the new system was nothing more than a backdoor tax and the Government had abused its powers in pushing them through under the guise of a fee.

To call the new system ‘proportionate’ was frankly ridiculous when you consider that some larger estates were set to see a 13,000% increase in fees.

What’s more, by proceeding with the changes, ministers point-blank ignored the views of almost every respondent involved in the consultation process.

Since then, Solicitors for the Elderly has campaigned hard, alongside other organisations, to have these changes reviewed. Our organisation is made up of over 1,500 lawyers across the country and not one member agreed with the fees.

In the meantime, we have seen a dramatic increase in enquiries from older and vulnerable people worried about the fees. Our fear was that some people may have been led to attempt to avoid the fees by decreasing the value of their estate, thereby leaving themselves with insufficient assets to provide for the rest of their life. With the current social care crisis facing the country, the unintended consequences of this change could have been disastrous. We are extremely relieved to hear this has now been avoided.

Deanne Ferguson is an associate solicitor in Coffin Mew’s wills, trusts and probate team and is an accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly.