Suggestions there will be no return to probate changes

Speculation has grown that a highly controversial change to probate fees might well be dropped altogether.

It had originally been the intention to implement the transition from a flat rate to a sliding scale of fees this month.

But the proposals had to be abandoned after the snap General Election was announced, with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) left with insufficient time to make the necessary preparations before Parliament was dissolved.

While opinion polls would suggest that the Conservatives are likely to return to power following the vote on June 8th, the BBC has noted that the party has so far declined to say whether it would continue to pursue the policy if it won.

In addition, sources have told The Guardian newspaper that the Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Liz Truss, is likely to face pressure to abandon the plans – such has been the extent of opposition.

Following the shake-up, the fee of £155 [for those using a solicitor] would have been replaced by the sliding scale, with the largest estates paying up to £20,000.

Opponents had suggested such an exorbitant sum in no way matched the reality of the work involved and shortly before the Election was called there had even been suggestions that an attempt to implement the changes without the Commons’ approval may have in fact been unlawful – with debate about whether the new charges were in effect a tax as opposed to a fee.

If you require any advice on the probate process, please contact Ian West or Michael Woodward.