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Probate Fees – An unjustified tax

There has been plenty of publicity about the forthcoming hike in probate fees. The good news first: if the estate is worth less than £50,000 there will be no fee. But now the bad news.
If the estate value is more than £50,000 the increases are as follows:-

• Between £50,000 and £300,000 the fee will be £300
• Between £300,000 and £500,000 the fee will be £1,000
• Between £500,000 and £1,000,000 the fee will be £4,000
• Between £1,000,000 and £1,600,000 the fee will be £8,000
• Between £1,600,000 and £2,000,000 the fee will be £12,000
• And for estates valued at more than £2,000,000 the fee will be £20,000

The work done by the Probate Registry bears no relation to the value of the estate so this is another example of the Government seeking to raise its revenues but not calling the exercise a tax. There is some talk of challenges both in Parliament and in the courts so there is a slim chance that the increase will not take effect. But you should proceed on the assumption that the increases will be in place next April and executors, whose estates may be affected, may wish to instruct Probaters to obtain a grant of probate as quickly as possible.

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