The Treasury raked in a record £4.84bn in death duties in the 2016/17 tax year, driven up by rising house prices, while the IHT threshold held at £325,000. The total tax free allowance will rise to £500,000 by 2020-21, at which point the threshold is due to be pegged to inflation and rising asset prices. Danny Cox, head of financial planning at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “There is a long time between now and 2020 for things to be changed. It is unreasonable for people to be taxed on indexed gains, it is just unfair.”

The Daily Telegraph   Daily Express   Independent i, Page: 56

Posted 29/07/2017




The Ministry of Justice has said a refund process will soon be announced after an increase in applications for power of attorney meant thousands were overcharged. The MoJ is only supposed to charge enough to cover the cost of the service, the Mail reports, but the increase in applications generated an £89m surplus which must be repaid.

Daily Mail, Page: 37

Posted 26/07/2017


Controversial plans to raise the cost of probate from a £255 administration fee to up to £20,000 could be reintroduced without notice, experts have warned. Chris Millward, Institute of Legacy Management chief executive, says the “stealth tax” could be brought back at any time and with very little warning. George Hodgson, Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners chief executive, said ‘suspicion was growing’ that the probate fee hike would return.

Daily Mail, Page: 33

Posted 12/07/2017

Martin Lewis argues that a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is more important than a will in many respects, yet fewer than one in six people have one. He says there is more reason than ever to set one up as the cost of registering an LPA in England and Wales has recently been reduced from £110 to £82.

Independent i, Page: 54-55

Posted 06/05/2017

Plans to raise probate fees by up to £20,000 have been scrapped before June’s election. Estates worth £300,000 to £500,000 would have paid a £1,000 fee under the proposals, while those worth £2m or more would have paid £20,000. All estates in England and Wales currently pay £215. The issue will now be a matter for the new government.

The Times, Page: 12   Daily Mail, Page: 1, 2

Posted 21/04/2017

A Freedom of Information request made by Royal London has revealed that the MoJ does not know the average cost to the Government of processing probate applications. Steve Webb, former pensions minister and director at Royal London, said: “The Government is treating bereaved families as if they were a ‘nice little earner’. It is one thing to make a reasonable charge for the provision of a public service. But the MoJ has now admitted it does not know the cost of handling a probate application and sees no reason to find out what it is.”

The Daily Telegraph

Posted 13/04/2017


The Mail reveals that some families are stripping thousands of pounds out of their Isas and Premium Bonds to avoid a rise in probate fees. From next month, the £215 probate fee will be replaced by a new tax that could cost the bereaved up to £20,000, depending on the size of the deceased’s estate. There will be no fee if the estate is under £50,000 (up from £5,000 today). Then the fee rises to £300 for estates worth more than £50,000; £1,000 for those of more than £300,000; £4,000 for more than £500,000; £8,000 for over £1m; £12,000 for more than £1.6m: and £20,000 for £2m-plus. To avoid the fees, some couples have told the paper they are withdrawing everything from tax-free deals in their sole names and cashing in funds and shares.

Daily Mail, Page: 37

Posted 12/04/2017




A rise in the number of dementia cases has resulted in a growing number of wills being challenged, as disinherited family members argue their relative was not of sound mind. The increase comes as people realise they can dispute someone’s wishes by saying they lacked capacity. Julia Burns, associate solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, said that most new will challenges involved claims that the person who had made the will was not capable of making decisions. But she also noted that many of these cases fail because families do not have enough evidence to show this, stating: “Clients think that because the person has had problems with their memory, they didn’t have capacity, and that’s not the case at all. Actually, the barrier for challenging a will is really high.” The Telegraph notes that the vast majority of all will challenges either fail or are settled out of court.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 10

Posted 08/04/2017