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UK Government Drops Probate Fee Increase

The UK Government has recently announced that it will no longer be progressing plans to increase probate fees in England and Wales.

Probate is a legal document giving the executor of an estate the authority to distribute the estate in accordance with the wishes of the deceased, as set out in their will. Fees are paid to the Government as part of the probate application procedure. In Scotland, the procedure is known as confirmation rather than probate.

Under the proposals, the fees in England and Wales would have increased from a current flat fee of £215 (or £155 if done by a solicitor) to a sliding scale between £300 and £20,000 based on the value of the estate.

The proposal had attracted a great deal of criticism, and questions had even been raised about its legality by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, reports the BBC.

The Law Society of England and Wales was among the 97% of respondents to the consultation who argued against the proposed increases, suggesting instead that a much more moderate and stepped increase was appropriate. It has welcomed the news that the fee increase will no longer go ahead.

"This proposal would have affected 42% of estates and would have put pressure on families when they have just suffered a bereavement, so we are glad it is no longer going forward," commented Law Society president Robert Bourns.

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