The government will press ahead with a planned rise in probate charges of up to £20,000, despite a parliamentary panel warning it could be illegal. The Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments says the plan is akin to bringing in new taxes without parliamentary approval. But the Ministry of Justice says it wants the fees in place for England and Wales "as soon as possible". The change is designed to raise £300m for the courts and tribunal service.
Probate charges are paid to the government when someone dies and the executor of their estate gathers their assets to distribute to beneficiaries of a will. At the moment, there is a flat fee of £215 per application for probate, with no fee being paid for estates worth less than £5,000. But the government proposals will change the fee to a sliding scale of up to £20,000, depending on the size of the estate.