Probate fee to rise from maximum of £215 to £20,000 for estates worth more than £2m
A new ‘stealth tax’ increase has been made on Britain’s Spring Budget, which is a £300million increase on the price of executing a will. At the moment, the cost of applying for probate is capped at £215, or £155 if the application is made using a solicitor. From May 2017, these fees will rise up to as much as 9,000%, and will be applied on a sliding scale depending on how much an estate is worth. The Treasury is expected to rake in £350 million a year between now and 2022, an increase of £115 million. Estates under £50,000 will dodge this change, but those worth more than £2million could end up paying as much as £20,000. The proposals will rise £300million a year and the change will affect many people who inherit property from their late family, like the family home. The British public are not happy with the introduction of what some are calling the ‘death tax’, and apparently more than three quarters of the 892 responses to a government poll regarding the fee rise were opposed to it. These increases mean people who inherit estates containing property are now expected to pay a much greater fee for a grant of probate than they were before. People will have difficulty in funding these fees, which are to be paid in addition to funeral expenses and inheritance tax before the executors can even access the deceased’s assets. A lot of people think the new fee is unfair, as it combines a stealth tax with deeply insensitive timing. Although, the Ministry of Justice insists that the fee is completely fair as for properties worth up to £50,000 which is 58% of homes in England and Wales, the fee is £0.