The Ministry of Justice recently announced a complete overhaul of the costs we pay to manage the affairs of our loved ones when they pass away. If parliament approves the shake up, in May 2017, there will be a sliding scale of fees payable to the Probate Registry to cover the paperwork associated with the control of a deceased person’s assets.
- Estates worth £50,000 and £300,000 will be charged £300
- Estates worth £300,000 to £500,000 will be charge £1,000
- Estates worth £500,000 and £1million will be charge £4000
- Estates worth more than £2million will be charge up to £20,000
That’s a whooping 9000% rise from current rates, which can be as little as £155 if applying through a solicitor. The amount of work involved in processing probate doesn’t increase with the size of estates, so for us, it seems an unjustified tax on the death of those that have undoubtably worked very hard to create wealth. Dealing with this, after the loss of a loved one and before the estate is settled can only cause distress.
Of course the Ministry of Justice are positioning this as a “fairer, banded system” where 92% of the population will pay no more than £1,000. However, property values are on the rise again, and particularly in our area, so it is not uncommon for estates to be worth £500,000 upwards.
These changes, if approved, are likely to cause all sorts of consequences, such as older people giving away assets or families restructuring how they are owned.
Our advice however is to take the time to do proper, well considered inheritance planning – particularly with very large estates or complex family set ups e.g. second marriages, multiple properties and complicated asset portfolios.
If you’d like a detailed discussion about how to protect yourself and your family from such fees, and indeed the emotional distress this could cause, please get in touch to make an appointment for a complimentary consultation.