Proposed hike in probate fees
Rumours that the government’s unpopular proposal to hike probate fees is set to surface again will dismay many and not least the legal profession (Times letters 11, July). With fees on some estates to rise from £200 to £20,000, well beyond the cost of carrying out probate services, it was no surprise the parliamentary committee that reviews such rules questioned whether the Ministry of Justice even had the legal right to impose such charges. Our own legal advice raised the same concern - that this ‘stealth tax’ was quite likely illegal and may be thrown out by the courts.
The solicitor profession stands ready to work with government to find a fair and legal way to fund this vital public service.
President of the Law Society of England and Wales