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Proposed probate fee increases scrapped ahead of General Election

The Government’s decision to change from the flat-rate probate fee to a tiered system based on the value of the estate has been scrapped following an announcement by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

The proposed fee changes, which could have seen the cost of applying for the Grant of Probate increase by more than 9,000% for the most valuable estates, have been widely criticised by industry and consumer groups alike.

The MoJ said this morning that there is now not enough time for the legislation to go through parliament ahead of the general election, which was called by PM Teresa May earlier this week.

Industry commentators have suggested that the proposals could yet be brought back if the prime minister is re-elected, but this is unlikely to be confirmed before voters go to the polls on June 8th.

Currently, there is a flat fee of £155 or £215 per application for probate, with estates worth less than £5,000 attracting no fee whatsoever.

Under the previously proposed changes, the government would have set probate fees on a sliding scale based on the value of the estate in question.

While those inheriting estates below £50,000 would no longer pay a fee for probate, families dealing with estates valued at more than £50,000 would have seen probate fees increase significantly, up to £20,000 for estates valued at £2m and above.

Tom Curran, CEO of estate administration specialist Kings Court Trust, commented; “We are delighted that the proposed fee changes have been scrapped, at least for the time being.  Kings Court Trust have strongly opposed the proposals since they were first announced and we were disappointed that the government appeared to be pushing them through despite overwhelming opposition from industry and the public alike.

As a business, we are committed to supporting families at this difficult time by alleviating the emotional stress of dealing with a loved one’s estate.  One way we do this is to offer our services with a guaranteed fixed price – this has never changed despite the uncertainty over the proposed fees.  We are hopeful that these unpopular proposals will now be consigned to history.”