Probate Fee Increase Declared as ‘Unlawful’


The proposed new fees for issuing a Grant of Probate have been declared as unlawful by a panel of experts. Our Solicitor Chris Dickinson explains more.

You may have read our recent news article about the government’s proposal to increase the fees charged for issuing a Grant of Probate up to £20,000.

The new fee structure has been imposed as a Statutory Instrument, a form of secondary legislation, meaning it is not subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.

Since the announcement that the new fee structure would come into force in May 2017, a Parliamentary committee (the joint committee on Statutory Instruments) has raised concerns that the proposed fees are ‘disproportionate’ to the service provided and therefore could be seen as amounting to what critics are calling a ‘death tax’.

The significance of the concerns raised is that Lord Chancellor does not have the power to impose taxes without the consent of Parliament which must be embodied in statute and expressed in clear terms.

However, despite the criticism from the joint committee, the Lord Chancellor has stated that the fee increase will go ahead as planned unless Parliament formally intervene on the basis of the concerns raised by the joint committee.

Pinney Talfourd will continue to post updates as this develops but in the meantime it would be advisable to proceed with any probate applications as soon as possible so as to avoid the new increased fees if they do come into force as currently planned.

What should I do if somebody has recently died?

Dealing with probate can often be the last thing on anyone’s mind when grieving for a loved one who has passed on. However, given the imminent introduction of the new Probate Fee structure, it is important to progress the administration as soon as possible.

Pinney Talfourd has an experienced team of Probate specialists who are able to assist you with the administration of an estate.  For a no obligation telephone consultation or meeting, please contact our Probate Department.

This article was written by Chris Dickinson, Solicitor in our Wills, Tax, Trusts and Probate team at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors. This article is only intended to provide a general summary and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of April 2017. 


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