This blog gives you the latest topical news plus some informal comments on them from ShareSoc’s directors and other contributors. These are the personal comments of the authors and not necessarily the considered views of ShareSoc. The writers may hold shares in the companies mentioned. You can add your own comments on the blog posts, but note that ShareSoc reserves the right to remove or edit comments where they are inappropriate or defamatory.

It Could Get More Expensive to Die

It could get more expensive to die for the wealthy, or less if you are poor. There are proposals to raise the cost of filing for probate substantially for larger estates. It currently costs £215 in Court fees to apply directly for probate, or £155 if filed through a solicitor. That is a flat fee which is the same for everyone, unless the estate is worth less than £5,000 when the charge is zero. But the Ministry of Justice is proposing that new fees will be as much as £20,000 for estates worth more than £2 million. Estates worth less than £50,000 will still be free, taking making estates out of charge, but they will rise on a sliding scale for larger estates until the £20,000 maximum is reached.

The Ministry says that they are not covering the costs of this service, and hence charges need to increase. The typical estate in the south-east of England where the price of houses is often a large proportion of the value of an estate will therefore face sharply rising charges, although that will be offset by the changes to Inheritance Tax that have been announced recently.

For more details and to respond to the public consultation on this matter, go to: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/fee-proposals-for-grants-of-probate

Many ShareSoc Members might be affected by this change, but when you are dead it’s probably only going to be of concern to your inheritors.

Roger Lawson

2 Comments
  1. Robert Morfee 20th February 2016 at 6:51 pm

    Court fees are a scandal. They are way too high. The fee for a writ in a large claim which when I starteed in the law was £12 is now £10,000. The MoJ says they need big fees to pay for the courts . Yet in principle, the courts are an essential service the Crown ought to pay from general taxation, like the police.and other public services.

    However, the courts probably do pay for themselves . It’s only the Treasury’s bizarre accounting that makes them look like a charge on the Exchequer. The Treasury’s usual rule is against hypothecating public revenue. Yet it hypothecates court fees but not other revenue flowing from the use of the courts, most obviously VAT on legal fees. It then pretends that court fees are the sole source of revenue from legal business to pay for the courts..

    Moreover, by way of extra Statutory Concession D33 HMRC exempts from CGT damages awarded in civil cases. I can see no resaon for this other than to let liability insurance companies reduce payouts by the CGT they would otherwise pay.

    Robert Morfee

  2. Pingback: Finance Bill and Tax Changes | ShareSoc Blog

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