Kings Court Trust question fairness of proposed new probate fees regime.

The Chief Exec of one of the UK’s leading estate administrators has questioned the fairness of newly proposed probate fees regime.

Whilst currently probate fees are a flat rate of £215 for those over £5,000 and free for those under, the new regime will mean fees for larger estates will increase dramatically.

Kings Court Trust have also stated they intend to respond to the formal consultation next week.

Tom Curran, Chief Executive of Kings Court Trust said: “We have read about the proposed increase in probate fees with concern.  While estates of a lower value will benefit from the removal of a fee altogether, many ordinary families will be faced with significant additional costs at a time of great stress.

“At Kings Court Trust, the cost of our estate administration services is based on the actual work involved, not the value of the estate.  We believe this is fair and transparent for the families that we support through a difficult time. We question whether the proposals will actually generate the savings that have been quoted by the Ministry of Justice and doubt whether they could be argued to constitute ‘access to justice’ as detailed within the Legal Services Act.”

The Guardian’s Money Editor Patrick Collinson has also slammed the changes. Writing last week, Mr Collinson stated the changes were merely a way for the government to stick to it’s pledges on Inheritance Tax whilst raising more money on inheritances.

Patrick Collinson wrote: “The thing is, we already have a perfectly good way to raise tax on estates, with the rich paying more. It’s called inheritance tax. But it has become an article of faith among the Conservatives never to raise it. So, instead, the government is in the absurd situation of capping IHT, while in another department increasing document fees to extraordinary levels. It’s like cutting stamp duty on a house purchase and then imposing a £10,000 charge for the searches that have to be conducted by the local authority before a sale can go through.”

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