The government’s plan for a dramatic rise in probate fees is to be stopped ahead of the general election in June.

Expected to come into effect in May, the probate fee increases sees the current flat rate (£215 or £155 if using a solicitor) replaced with a banded structure where fees increase in line with the estate.

This banded structure, which starts at £50,000, means those with assets of over £1 million will have to pay probate fees of between £8,000 and £20,000.

However, the plans have drawn much criticism since they were announced at the Budget and last month MPs on the statutory instruments committee said the changes must go through parliament.

Today the BBC has reported the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has said there is not enough time to get the legislation through parliament and so the policy will not be in place next month.

When asked by the BBC, a senior Tory refused to say if the policy would be brought back if the Tories win the upcoming general election.

If not, this would represent the second Budget reversal since chancellor Philip Hammond scrapped plans to raise national insurance contributions paid the self-employed.

Gordon Andrews, tax and financial planning expert at Old Mutual Wealth, said: ‘This leaves an even larger gap in the Exchequer, which will now have to be filled.’

‘The government clearly has bigger fish to fry at the moment, but raising funds from grieving families may be back on the agenda after 8 June,’ said Lynne Rowland, a tax partner with Kingston Smith.

‘The message seems to be that inheritance tax and the process of passing assets on death are easy targets that have been overlooked too long,’ she added.

 



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