Government plans to increase probate fees are set to go ahead despite considerable opposition.
Currently, for estates valued at over £5,000, a grant application made by a solicitor is subject to a flat fee of £155. A grant application made by an individual is subject to a fee of £215.
During the consultation period, the government's new plans were met with strong opposition. As a result, the original proposals have been adjusted. From 1 April 2019, the increase in fees is set to take effect. Estates which are valued between £50,000 and £300,000 will be subject to a fee of £250. The fee rises thereafter to reach £6,000 for estates with a value above £2 million.
Lucy Frazer QC, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, said: 'The top band has now been reduced from £20,000 under the previous proposal to £6,000 under this order. The new banded fees structure does not amend the underlying policy rationale, and will retain the same progressive banded structure as the earlier proposal, in which the fee payable relates to the value of the estate.'
Commenting on the plans, John O'Connell, Chief Executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: 'It's hard enough to deal with the loss of a loved one without the government stepping in and taking away so much through inheritance tax, and now this proposed increase to probate charges.
'While probate can be bureaucratically burdensome, these death tax hikes are totally unreasonable and will hit taxpayers even harder.'