Stop the Death Tax! (Probate Fee increase in March 2017 Budget)
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Death Tax (Probate Charge): Budget 2017
The Government has seemingly ignored overwhelming opposition and pushed ahead the introduction of a dramatic rise in probate fees, taking effect from May 2017. This is typical government double standards as shown by the Conservative campaign photo from some years ago!
In the most extreme cases, estates worth £2m or more will have to pay £20,000 to execute the wishes of the deceased's will.
Currently, a £215 flat fee applies if probate is applied for by friends or family, or £155 if a solicitor completes the process.
In May 2017 the system will be replaced by a sliding scale based on the value of an estate.The charge is paid in addition to solicitor’s costs and inheritance tax, levied at 40pc on assets above each individual's £325,000 threshold.
The Ministry of Justice confirmed the changes, despite nearly total opposition registered in a public consultation process. It is in effect a money grab from someone who has died. The new fees have no justification whatsoever in relation to the Probate Service provided, and are a blatant abuse of a person’s estate. This is a difficult time for any family member and the Probate Form is extremely complex, yet the Probate Office Service offers little input apart from checking forms and requesting an interview if considered necessary
In its’ official response to the consultation, I read that the Government stated while it understood concerns over the level of the proposed fees, the increases "are necessary" to fund the courts and tribunal systems "in the long term". I consider that such fees should be covered by those using the courts not subsidised by a death tax, when inheritance tax is already in place.
I petition the Prime Minister to immediately stop the Death Tax and accept that current Probate Fees levels reflect work carried out and there are no grounds whatsoever for an increase
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