A stealth tax on grieving families that will cost charities millions

7 February 2019

We are extremely disappointed that plans to hike probate fees were approved by Government earlier today. The plans were approved by nine votes to eight at a Delegated Legislation Committee.

We have fought against this rise on behalf of our members, which could cost charities in the region of £10m annually in legacy income.

Under the plans, the current flat fee of £215 for any estate will change to a fee linked to the value of the estate, rising up to £6,000.

Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity, says: “The new probate structure will see charitable Wills costing – in some cases – thousands of pounds more than they do currently and our concern is that this could deter people from leaving a donation in their Will. After all, if estate planning comes with such a hefty price tag for wealthy individuals – many of whom leave sizable gifts to charity – they may think again.”

Cancer Research UK have calculated that these changes will reduce their income by £600,000 per annum, which could pay for two years of trials of a new targeted prostate cancer drug.

Law Society president Christina Blacklaws says: “It is unfair to expect the bereaved to fund or subsidise other parts of the courts and tribunal service, particularly in circumstances where they have no other options but to use the probate service.”

The new charges will come into force in April, barring a majority of objections by the House of Commons.