There has been much discussion recently about increasing the probate application fee, so that it changes from a flat rate fee for all estates (currently £155 if the application is submitted by a solicitor) to a stepped rate which increases as the value of the estate increases such that a modest estate of between £300,000 and £500,000 would attract a fee of £1000 and an estate valued in excess of £2 million would attract a fee of £20,000.
This has been widely criticised by many people especially practitioners who highlight that the level of work required by the probate registry is the same in every case and that this has all the hall marks of a tax rather than a fee.
It would appear that practitioners are not alone in this view and the Joint Select Committee for Statutory Instruments has challenged the statutory instrument attempting to bring in this fee change. The Committee argues that this is a tax by another name and that taxes should not be added without Parliamentary approval and also that the Ministry of Justice may be acting in excess of their powers.
More detail of the Committees comments can be read here.
This may well delay the proposed implementation date of the proposed new fees if not derail them all together.
If you’d like more information or would like to arrange an appointment to see one of our Solicitors, please contact us on 01604 828282.