Published On: Fri, Apr 19th, 2019

robate fee HIKE outrage: Bereaved families left in ‘LIMBO’ over delay to ‘stealth tax’ | Personal Finance | Finance

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Probate fees are set to rise from the current flat £215 charge to up to £6,000 for the largest estates, following an announcement by the Government back in November. But these changes, which were expected to come into force on April 1, have been pushed back due to Brexit debates taking up Parliament time. Before the increases can be implemented, they must be presented to and approved by MPs in the House of Commons, for which there is currently no date set in stone. Once given permission to go ahead, the new fees will come into force 21 days later.

It is worth noting that the increases could be voted down and fail to become law.

Dan Garrett, co-founder and CEO of Farewill, is calling for the probate fee hike to be abolished altogether and said the timing must not come at the expense of grieving families “who are held in a probate limbo”.

He said: “With the increasing cost entwined with dying and the current uncertainty over fees, it is becoming ever more important to assess how to gain transparency and clarity over the cost and processes involved in dying.

“Under this proposed structure, probate fees will be calculated depending on the worth of the estate meaning that for some, the cost will be significantly higher than for others.

“However, the Government has noted that around 80 percent of estates will pay less than £750 and 60 percent will pay a similar fee to the current scheme.

“Regardless of the uncertainty regarding the rise in fees, it is critical that the government makes an immediate announcement as to what the final probate hike will be or alternatively, if they are intending to abolish it all together.

“Despite the importance of Brexit, it’s management cannot be at the detriment of the friends and families who are held in a probate limbo.”

The new hike will see the minimum probate fee increase from £215 to £250 for estates with assets of less than £500,000.

This then rises to £4,000 for estates valued at more than £1 million and £6,000 for estates worth more than £2 million.

This charge will comes on top of any inheritance tax liabilities.

It is believed more than 280,000 families a year will be stung by the extra costs, with 56,000 forking out between £2,500 and £6,000.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman confirmed to there is currently no schedule date for the approval motion.

She said: “Our system will see thousands of bereaved families paying no probate fees at all – protecting an additional 25,000 estates each year.

“Fees are vital to the effective running of our courts and tribunals, ensuring access to justice and protecting vulnerable victims.

“The Fees Order will be made after and subject to an approval motion in the House of Commons.

“The new fees will come into force 21 days after the order is made.”

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