Return of the Stealth Death Tax

6th December 2018 4:08 pm Comments Off on Return of the Stealth Death Tax

The government has announced a dramatic increase in probate fees to come into force in April 2019, to help pay the running costs of the whole court system.

Probate fees are the fees charged by the Probate Registries for issuing a grant of probate of a Will, or a grant of letters of administration of an intestate estate.

The current fee (for an application made through solicitors) is a flat £155.  The government’s proposal would mean a minimum fee of £250 for all but the very smallest estates, rising in bands to £6,000 for estates of over £2m.

Colemans’ senior partner Michael Cutler says, “The government tried this on a couple of years ago, when it was dubbed by the media as the ‘stealth death tax’, but the plan was cancelled at the last minute.”

“Officially”, says Cutler, “this was because ‘there was no Parliamentary time available’ before the snap General Election in June 2017.  However, some commentators believed that another relevant factor was the widespread anger which the planned increase caused among people the Conservative Party saw as its natural supporters.”

“The Government has now come back with slightly modified proposals and made the announcement when the attention of the news media is focussed firmly on Brexit – a classic ‘good time to bury bad news’ ploy” suggests Cutler.

Cutler warns “The plan has been changed a bit, but the fundamental objection is the same – there is no moral justification, and probably no legal basis, for taxing bereaved families to pay for running the country’s court system.”

If you would like further information on this change then please contact Michael Cutler on 01628 631051 or email


Categorised in: Wills, Probate and Trusts

This post was written by Colemans Solicitors LLP

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