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  • Writer's pictureSamuel Jones

The Government has reversed its decision to change probate fees.

In early 2017 the government announced their plans to increase the costs of applying for a current grant of probate.

Currently the probate fee is a fixed cost of £215 across England and Wales, which is reduced to £155 if you use a solicitor.

The Government proposed to change the current flat rate to a fee based on a sliding scale depending on the value of the estate, meaning that higher value estates would have been charged more. In fact, up to £6,000 for estates exceeding 2 million pounds or more.

The Government have reversed their position after incessant campaigning by several legal organisations, including the Law Society. This was due to concerns that these changes could lead to bad outcomes for estates where the assets are mainly in property rather than cash, for example a widow whose property is in the sole name of her late husband would have been required to pay the proposed high fee despite the fact that no inheritance tax would have been payable. With current house prices so high, simply owning a house would put your estate at risk of being charged a higher fee.

The government have said that they will look at the Probate Fees again as part of a wider review. In the meantime, the fixed fee remains in place for now however it is unknown if this will last and if new plans are proposed, what impact they could have for the average person.

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