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The unpopular ‘death tax’ was pulled before the election but could still make an unwelcome return.

Largely unpopular when the Conservative Government consulted on them, and even more so when they were introduced, this legislation was pulled before it could become enshrined in law and suspicions are that it will be re-thought through before being re-introduced.

Probate fees had been due to rise from £155 or £215 to up to £20,000 for some estates in England and Wales from May 2017. The proposals which linked probate fees to the size of the estate were largely criticised as a tax rather than a fee with farmers and landowners who are asset-rich, cash-poor likely to be particularly hard hit.

However out of 831 respondents to the consultation on the proposals, less than 2% were in favour and the plans were dropped before the election with Conservative Government officials refusing to confirm that they would come back after the vote.

The election has given the Conservative Government some breathing space on probate fees and its likely they will re-think before introducing them. Given the probate fee is essential to get a grant of probate it essentially amounted to a tax and the high level of fees was extremely unfair for what is an administrative function.

There is more information on the original probate fee proposals here.

Published: 9 June 2017

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June 2017

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