The astronomical increase in probate fees that is proposed has been widely reported and has been roundly met with criticism.
The actual cost to the court service of issuing a Grant of Probate is the same, whether the estate in question is worth £50,000 or £5m. However, under this proposal the court fee to obtain Probate will be nothing for a £50,000 estate but £20,000 for a £5m estate.
As this blog over the weekend rightly points out, if the government is seeking to raise further taxes from large estates then surely the way to do that is by altering the inheritance tax legislation, rather than raising the cost of being able to access a government service.
t’s a new “death tax” for “grieving families”. It’s an “astronomical” blow for the “bereaved”. The government is proposing a sharp rise in probate fees on larger estates, which has sent the blood pressure of Telegraph readers off the scale. And, for once, I agree. If you missed it – and that was easy to do as the consultation paper was slipped out last Friday just as all eyes were focused on David Cameron striking a deal with the EU – the fee increases are staggering. The proposed new fee structure will be based on the size of the estate; nothing if it’s under £50,000, but as much as £20,000 if it’s above £2m. Some will pay less, although the government admits this is not about rebalancing a charge but about straightforward revenue raising.