Probate fees are a ‘dressed up’ tax, say MPs amid fears bereaved families may be forced to take out loans to cover the cost
The new probate fees are a tax ‘dressed up’, a committee of MPs and peers warns.
The controversial new fees will see the cost of applying for probate — the legal authority to take control of someone’s finances when they die — soar from a basic fee of £250 to as much as £6,000 next year.
Critics say bereaved families may be forced to take out a loan to cover the cost.
New fees will see the cost of applying for probate – the legal authority to take control of someone’s finances when they die – soar from a basic fee of £250 to as much as £6,000
Now a cross-party parliamentary committee has said the Ministry of Justice could be acting beyond its powers.
The Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments report says: ‘The Committee considers that the charges provided for in the 2018 Order have all the characteristics of taxation rather than fees.
‘The 2018 Order would, in effect, levy a type of stamp duty on grants of probate dressed up as ‘fees’.’
It comes after the Lords Committee accused the Government of introducing a ‘stealth death tax’.
Ministers had revealed plans to link the probate fee to the size of estates.
Those with estates worth more than £2 million face fees of up to £6,000.
The Ministry of Justice insists that fees will never be more than 0.5 per cent of the value of an estate and says that 25,000 more families will avoid the fee each year.