Explaining the ‘death tax’ and how will it impact on you

A probate solicitor will talk you through the details.
A probate solicitor will talk you through the details.

The Government has announced it will go ahead with plans to raise probate fees on bigger estates, described as the ‘death tax’.

Justice Minister Lucy Frazer has announced that the Government will go ahead with the planned probate fee increases, albeit on a lesser scale.

At present, the probate court fee is a flat fee of £155 if a solicitor applies for probate on your behalf, or £215 if you do it yourself.

Last year, after widespread opposition, the Government withdrew plans to revise the probate fee structure to a banded system whereby the fee payable would be based on the value of the estate.

So what does it now mean?

These proposals would have resulted in significant increases in fees to the extent that some estates would have had to pay a probate fee up to £20,000.

The new banded fee structure will see estates worth less than £50,000 paying no fee, with larger estates paying a maximum of £6,000.

Frazer said ‘Fees are an essential element of funding an effective, modern courts and tribunals service, thereby ensuring and protecting access to justice.’

The introduction of the new fees will be in addition to any inheritance tax payable and will add another layer to the complexities of estate planning and administration.

What is probate? Dealing with the affairs of someone who has died can be a very difficult and stressful task particularly if you are not used to dealing with finances or perhaps do not know much about the affairs of a relative or friend who has died.

Many people are worried about “going to Probate.” This refers to obtaining legal authority to deal with the deceased persons property and assets. An application is made to the court which issues a grant of probate if there is a will or a grant of letters of administration if there is no will. This is a routine step which we will make for you.

Before the court issues such a grant the Inland Revenue have to be paid any inheritance tax due or be satisfied that no tax is payable.

Finally the deceased persons income tax affairs have to be concluded and we can deal with this also.

To contact Till Bailey & Irvine, call 01429 264101, go online at www.tbilaw.co.uk or visit their office at York Chambers, York Road, Hartlepool TS26 9DP