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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