The Ministry of Justice has confirmed today (21/4/17) that the proposals for increasing the application fee for a Grant of Probate have been shelved.
Following the announcement of a snap election for June 8 2017, the lack of parliamentary time left to deal with outstanding matters before dissolving in early May means the introduction of the controversial fees will be halted.
In order to implement the new system of fees lawfully the MOJ requires the approval of both parliamentary houses. The new rates were originally to be considered in parliament after Easter, but this will not happen now.
The Proposal to increase the fees has not been without controversy. Recently, the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments questioned the increase, and it's legality, while many solicitors and those working with the elderly have been highly critical of the proposed increase, dubbing it a "stealth" or "death" tax.
The news that the fee increases has now been shelved will be welcomed certainly in the short term. However as these increases were set to be a major money maker for the ailing Courts and Tribunals Service (estimated at over £300 million per annum) it's not beyond the realms of possibility that a future proposal to increase the probate fees will be made.
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