Probate Fees Consulting. How Much Would You Like To Pay?
So last week your bag of bits from the shop cost £430.00. Round you go again to the shops this week for another bag of bits. “We’ve changed the price this week, it’s £40,000.00 – is that OK?”
Really? Seems a little steep.
Yes, it’s the Government’s Probate fees consultation.
Have you heard about it: is it just me living a sheltered life or has the media ignored it? I honestly thought it was a joke – the internet is full of lies after all. But no.
Seems that the Court system is going bust on present projections of costs against fees, and Probate fees are the soft target. Never mind that actually, according to the Law Society, the present level of fees for Probates “fully covers” the costs of the Probate registry.
So yes, How does a £40,000.00 Probate fee sound? Up from £430? Admittedly the worst case, but, if a Husband who owns property worth over £2million leaves it all to his wife, at present she will receive £2 million, or the property title, tax free, after paying £215.00 to the Probate registry.
If these proposals go through, she would receive the £2 million tax free, but have to pay £20,000.00 for the Probate fee. There is no extra work to be done by the Probate Registry, no pretence is made that this is so. Simply the Government says, the Courts need this money.
If the £2million property is the family home, and she hasn’t got £20,000.00 to pay to the Probate Registry just after her husband has died, she can jolly well sell the place. Imagine the cheek of her, not wanting to move out of a place full of memories of her recently deceased husband. Come on old lady, the Courts need the brass.
Of course all this stress and upheaval may kill her. Excellent. A house that is far too big for an old lady is back on the market and of course, if she is dead, but now with an estate worth over £2million, that’s another £20,000.00 for the courts. Before inheritance tax, obviously. Just gets better and better.
Given that it was a central tenet of Karl Marx’s social ideal, that inheritance down the generations would become impossible when there is no private wealth, does it seem odd that the present proposals come from a Tory Government?
I do have one thought from a Notarial viewpoint. Imagine the same couple, with £2 million assets in England, but in joint names. Now, when Husband dies, there is no need to get a grant of Probate. £20,000.00 saved.
But, hang on, imagine Husband has a holiday flat or time-share in Turkey in his own name. Worth £10,000.00. And he has £10,000.00 worth of South African Rand in his foreign Bank account. How is the widow going to get those assets worth £20,000.00?
It’s not too hard, the Turks and the South Africans will send me the money, if I prepare the necessary certificates together with an English Grant of Probate.
That Grant of Probate costs £215.00 to get today. Oh, crikey. Next year it will cost £20,000.00 if the proposals go through. Just to get £20,000.00. She can’t just walk away, there are likely to be penalties from Turkey if she doesn’t sort it out. Bit of a problem.
The Official consultation ends after this month so if you have any opinions, get them in. Here is a link https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/fee-proposals-for-grants-of-probate
Some might say, if you don’t like these proposals, but do think that the Courts system should not be allowed to go bust, then what is your alternative? OK, you have rather got me there, I do admit. Good job I’m not the Government.
Take it away Johnny Cash AFTER TAX
As ever, Please do contact me and Louise whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation – at http://www.atkinsonnotary.com or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)