The controversial planned hike in probate fees has officially collapsed, much to the relief of many. Ministers decided that lapsing the Non-Contentious Probate Fees Order in its current form was the best decision due to the uncertainty of Brexit and parliament being suspended.

What is the probate fee order?

For months the motion to approve the Non-Contentious Probate Fees Order has been scheduled for a vote in the House of Commons. Had it gone through, fees would have changed from being fixed amounts of £215, or £155 with a solicitor or probate authorised accountant, onto a sliding scale. Depending on the value of the estate, the scale could have seen fees rise up to £6,000. This would have also greatly increased the level of inheritance tax (IHT) for larger estates.

The proposed new probate fees made a significant impact when they were first introduced in November 2018, with many of those opposed accusing the Government of attempting to disguise a stealth death tax.

Momentum grounded to a halt

The progress of the order has certainly run out of steam since its initial introduction. Grinding to a halt with the prorogation of parliament. The original launch of the new probate fees in its current form was due in April 2019, which has come and gone without any vote of approval.

Along with the suspension of parliament, the motion has now been lapsed and it’s now looking likely that the order will re-emerge in the new Parliamentary session, following an outcome concerning Brexit.

The Law Society officials warned that the draft contained technical errors, which could have been exploited. This could be considered one of the biggest factors that contributed to the order being lapsed.

Simon Davis, Law Society president, stated that: “Should the order be reintroduced, we will continue to campaign against its introduction. This is a tax on grief.”

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