death tax graphic

Death Fee to hit almost 300,000 grieving families a year

It has been reported in National newspapers that Parliament have increased the fee for Probate. Which is the legal process for dealing with the estate of someone who has died. Grieving relations could see the cost of probate increase by thousands of pounds after the Ministry of Justice confirmed tiered fees from April 2019.

This has been classed as a controversial increase, which will see almost 300,000 families a year face larger probate bills from April 2019. Currently, families pay a flat £215 fee for probate, or £155 if the probate application is made by a solicitor. Grieving families could face bills of up to £6,000 as the charge for securing legal control over a deceased person’s estate.

Under the new system, the charge will rise according to the value of the estate. It is estimated 280,000 families a year will have to pay more, with 56,000 facing bills of between £2,500 and £6,000.

Up to £50,000: no charge

·      £50,000- £300,000: £250

·      £300,000- £500,000: £750

·      £500,000 to £1m: £2,500

·      £1m to £1.6m: £4,000

·      £1.6m- £2m: £5,000

·      Above £2m: £6,000

There is no discount for using a solicitor under the new scheme.

Source: Ministry Of Justice February 2019

The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time. The value of tax relief depends on individual circumstances.

Many people will not have to pay probate when their spouse dies because it is not needed if they share their house and bank accounts.

For a non spouse, the fees themselves have to be paid up front. The increased fee could now see bereaved relatives having to take out loans just to access what has been left to them.

How can we help?

Using Trusts and /or gifting part of your estate can help reduce the value of an estate for inheritance tax purposes, meaning a lower charge will apply.  People concerned about how beneficiaries will pay the probate fees could leave sufficient funds in a life insurance policy and provided the policy is written in Trust, it can be accessed immediately on death, without the need for probate.

The short video below highlights the benefits of using a Trust.

Trusts are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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