Probate practitioners are currently waiting for the planned probate fees increase to take effect. These plans will see probate fees increase from £155 (for solicitors) or £215 (for individuals) to between £250 and £6,000, depending on the size of the estate.
I have previously commented on the potential impact this will have on the charitable sector. Charities rely heavily on legacy income, and this will be eaten into by the new probate fees. Cancer Research UK has estimated that the changes will result in a loss in legacy income, to their charity alone, of £600,000 a year. Estimates of the overall loss to the charitable sector are as high as £10million per year.
The Institute of Fundraising, Institute of Legacy Management, Remember a Charity and National Council for Voluntary Organisations wrote to Lucy Frazer MP to set out the concerns of the charitable sector, requesting that consideration be given to a charities exemption from the increased fees. This would be consistent with the existing charities exemption from inheritance tax.
Lucy Frazer has responded stating that the government has assessed that there will not be a substantial impact on any individual beneficiary, and that whilst the government supports charitable giving, it will not be practical for the Probate Service to apply different sets of fees for those estates that include a charitable donation.
For further information on the changes to probate fees and how these may affect you, please contact us using the enquiry form at the bottom of the page.