Robert Chote of the Office of Budget Responsibility has just estimated that charging probate fees proportionate to the value of the estate would bring in as much as £300million for the Revenue annually and should be now classed as a tax. This secondary inheritance charge, whether a tax or not, should now be taken into account by those planning their estates.

As of the 1st May this year the fees will apply on a sliding scale from £0 on an estate of £50,000.00 to a maximum of £20,000.00 on an estate of £2,000,000.00 or more. Farmers and other business owners as well as high worth individuals especially therefore need to consider their wills as a matter of urgency. However even at the lower end of the fee scale there are relatively modest steps that can be taken to mitigate the fees.

As ever tax planning measures have other consequences and estate planning needs to be taken in the round. This is not something we would suggest should be done without considering the estate as a whole and without professional advice.

As a firm we suggest reviewing wills and estate planning every 4-5 years, as your circumstances change, or if the law or taxation changes and this is certainly one of those situations. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation if you think this will effect you. If no action proves necessary we would not propose to raise a charge, but with the amount of fees at stake in many estates our fee may save you many times that in probate fees. It’s certainly something to think about…”