In what can only be described as a stealth tax, the government is introducing a new structure of probate fees in April this year which will see some people paying thousands of pounds more at a time when they face the stress of losing a loved one. At present, everyone pays the same fee of £155 if they use the services of a solicitor or £215 when they apply in person.
Under the new rules, only those with an estate of less than £50,000 will benefit as the charge will disappear completely for them. If the estate is worth more than £300,000 the probate fee will more than treble to £750, while those handling an estate of more than £500,000 will face a ten-fold increase to £2,500. There may not be many estates in our area above the maximum level of £2 million, but the £6,000 fee that they must pay will be an increase of an eye-watering 3,870% on the current model.
At a time when funeral costs are in the regulatory spotlight, this feels like another punch in the stomach for bereaved families.