Election means planned hike in probate fees is scrapped – for the time being

The planned increase in probate fees has been abandoned ahead of the forthcoming general election.

Probate fees in England and Wales were due to rise from £155 or £215 to up to £20,000 from May under a sliding fee scale based on the value of an individual’s estate.

The charges are paid to the government when someone dies and the executor of the estate gathers their assets to distribute to beneficiaries of a will. The Ministry of Justice has now said there is too little time for the legislation – branded by critics as a ‘stealth death tax’ – to go through Parliament. It was thought that most estates would be worse off under the new regime, especially if they include a property.

Some areas have seen sharp rises in property prices, which would lead to higher probate fees for estates that have increased in value.

Currently, probate fees are fixed at £215 for a personal application and £155 for one made through a solicitor.

We must now wait and see whether these new measures go through after the June 8 election.

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