UK’s Largest Charities To Lose £1.5 Million Annually To Probate Fees

80% of the five largest charitable organisations have claimed that the changes to probate fees will cause a collective loss of over £1.5 million in charitable donations.

Whilst Brexit may have forced the government to put the changes to probate on the back burner, the new fee structure will come into force just 21 days after the statutory instrument passes through parliament for a final time.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) fear that the changes to the probate fee structure, which will abolish the existing flat rate of £215 and replace it with a sliding scale determined by the cost of the estate, will cost the charity £400,000 per year in lost legacy requests.

Similarly, Cancer Research UK are anxious that the impact will reduce their annual donations by £600,000 per year.

Macmillan Cancer Support are set to lose £300,000 which would equate to five Macmillan nurses providing essential care and support. The RSPCA believe that the probate fee changes will reduce their annual donations by £250,000.

Last year, the Institute of Legacy Management speculated that the charity sector could lose in excess of £10 million per year. Now, the figures released by the five largest charities suggest that this estimation for the whole sector could have been extremely conservative.

Craig Fordham, Director of Legacies at Macmillan, said:

“We estimate that the proposed changes to probate fees would result in a loss of £300,000 to our annual income, which could pay for five Macmillan nurses for a year, each providing physical and emotional support to help people with cancer live life as fully as they can.

“We are funded almost entirely by generous donations and simply cannot support the growing number of people who need us without the help of the public.”

A Spokesperson for the RSPCA commented:

“The RSPCA could see a reduction of £250,000 per year as a result of these proposals, which is disappointing for a charity such as ours, which carries out vital and unique animal welfare work and relies on the generous donations left to us in the wills of animal lovers across the country.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson commented:

“Our changes will not affect fixed-sum charitable donations and will see an extra 25,000 bereaved families paying no probate fees at all, allowing them to donate more if they wish to.

“The probate fee will never amount to more than 0.5 per cent of the estate value and around 80 per cent of applicants will pay £750 or less.”

Do you think the changes to the probate fee structure will have such a severe impact on the charity sector?

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