Katherine Denham looks at the implications of the Government’s proposed changes to probate fees. A new banded fee structure will see rates rise from a flat rate of £215 to between £250 and £6,000 depending on the size of the estate. Elizabeth Young, head of private client services at Roythornes, says: “This is such an enormous change of direction that it’s going to be extremely difficult for the public to swallow.” Ian Dyall, head of estate planning at Tilney, describes probate fees as a “stealth tax”, and says that the additional cost is purely a revenue raising project.

City AM, Page: 28

Posted 15/11/2018


The Government is pushing ahead with plans to raise probate fees by up to 3,770%. The proposals will see estates worth £2m or more pay £6,000 in probate fees, up from £155 currently. However, the increase is a reduction on the original plans, which would have seen a bill of £20,000 for the largest estates. Estates with a value of between £1m and £1.6m will have to pay £4,000. The Government said the changes were necessary to fund the courts system and were a “fair and more progressive” way of paying. It estimated the move would raise £185m a year by 2022/23. Lucy Frazer, the justice minister, said: “Our system will see thousands of bereaved families paying no probate fees at all – protecting 25,000 estates each year. We have listened closely to concerns around early proposals. Fees will never be more than 0.5% of the estate’s value and are recoverable from the estate.”

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 2 Daily Mail, Page: 1 The Sun, Page: 2 The Times, Page: 4 Daily Mirror, Page: 10

Posted 06/11/2018


Sir Bruce Forsyth left his entire £11.7m estate to his wife, who took over control of Bruce Forsyth Promotions a month before he died. The move meant 40% IHT did not need to be paid. He left nothing to his children but Lady Forsyth is now free to give away £650,000 without paying extra in tax. The legendary TV presenter was outspoken about IHT, saying once that he thought it was “over the top”.

Daily Star, Page: 7 Daily Express, Page: 3

Posted 20/09/2018

The Mail issues a warning to readers considering using cheap will-writing services that claim to save people time and money by cutting out solicitors. It says budget DIY wills can include enormous hidden fees and extra charges.

Daily Mail, Page: 44

Posted 12/09/2018

Britons left a record £2.85bn to charity via gifts in wills last year. Health and cancer charities were the biggest beneficiaries with Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and the British Heart Foundation in the top five. The data, secured from research conducted by Smee & Ford, is released to coincide with Remember A Charity in Your Will Week, which runs from September 10-16.

The Sun Daily Mirror

Posted 10/09/2018

Rising property prices and a spike in winter deaths helped push up IHT receipts to £5.2bn in 2017/18 – up 8% year on year – according to HMRC figures. IHT receipts have risen 10% on average every year since 2009/10 while the nil-rate band – the threshold above which individuals pay inheritance tax – has remained frozen at £325,000.

Financial Times, Page: 2 City AM Daily Mail, Page: 2 The Times, Page: 6 The Daily Telegraph, Page: 8 City AM, Page: 13

Posted 01/08/2018

Several papers pick up on a report from Which? showing six out of 10 Britons have not made a will, leaving millions at risk of dying intestate. Of those who didn’t make a will, 38% said that they had nothing worth inheriting, 20% said that writing a will had not occurred to them, and 16% said that they had been too busy. More people in England had made a will than in other regions – 42% compared with 35% in Wales and 31% in Scotland – with the highest levels in the southwest and the lowest in London.

The Times, Page: 56 Daily Mirror, Page: 20 The Sun, Page: 26 Daily Express, Page: 37 The Herald, Page: 11

Posted 23/06/2018


The Resolution Foundation believes inheritance tax should be scrapped and replaced by a system that spreads the money more fairly between the generations and is harder to avoid. The think-tank has proposed replacing IHT with a lifetime receipts tax that would raise more for the state and would encourage families to pass their wealth to younger members. Under the proposal, each beneficiary would have a £125,000 inheritance allowance, above which they pay 20% up to £500,000 and 30% beyond that. Resolution estimates that the new tax would deter avoidance and raise £11bn a year in 2021, compared with £6bn under the present system.

The Times, Page: 40 The Daily Telegraph, Page: 2 The Scotsman, Page: 19 Daily Express, Page: 31

Posted 02/05/2018


A carer has been left with an £85,000 legal bill after a judge ruled she had “guided the hand” of a millionaire on his deathbed to sign over almost half of his £1m estate to her family. Judge Nigel Price said that he had “no hesitation” in ruling that Marcel Chu’s will was invalid.

Daily Express, Page: 22 The Daily Telegraph, Page: 11 Daily Mail, Page: 33 The Times, Page: 11

Posted 01/05/2018

The Telegraph explains how a couple could add almost £100,000 to their child or grandchild’s pension and reduce any potential IHT bill by utilising their annual gift allowance. Data published by Prudential said if a couple were to gift £3,000 each into their child’s pension every year for a decade, the amount added to the pension would be valued at £97,051, with a potential IHT saving of £24,000.

The Daily Telegraph

Posted 19/04/2018