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The Death Tax is Back!

Earlier this week, a week after the budget, it emerged that the UK government has re-introduced proposals to fund the courts service via charging higher probate fees.

While the headline charges are less extortionate than were proposed last year which were dropped after a furious backlash, they are still an eye-watering increase for a GBP1m estate the fee will rise from GBP155 to GBP4000, an increase of 2580%.

The government has failed to explain why it is choosing to place this burden on bereaved families, many of whom will have spent months or years paying expensive care fees for their elderly relatives.

Executors will have to pay the fee up front before reclaiming it from the estate once probate has been granted.

It is currently unclear how the executors will pay the fees and there remain a lot of unanswered questions around how the money will be recovered from the estate, as assets are frozen until the executors receive the grant of probate.

It is clear the new charges can only be seen as simply another form of taxation, sneaked in through the back door as it is unjustifiable as the probate process does not require additional work or resources.

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