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

 

 

 

Liz Truss’ plans to hike probate fees should be examined by both houses of parliament, the joint committee on statutory instruments said. A report from the committee said the changes could breach the constitutional principle that there should be no taxation without consent. Rebecca Fisher, a solicitor at Russell-Cooke commented: “The main point from this report is that the Joint Select Committee believe that the Lord Chancellor may be acting beyond her powers and that even if not acting beyond her powers, it is a very unexpected use of her powers.”

The Sun, Page: 6   Daily Mail, Page: 17   The Times, Page: 1, 2   The Guardian, Page: 14

Posted 06/04/2017

 

 

The Mail reports that residents have bombarded their local MPs with letters and threatened to stop voting Conservative unless there is a U-turn on a plans to increase the cost of applying for probate. Currently, there is a set fee of £215 for a personal application – or £155 if you apply through a solicitor. However, from May, fees will be linked to the value of the estate. The fee will be £300 for estates worth £50,000 to £300,000. Then it will be £1,000 for estates worth up to £500,000; and £4,000 for estates worth between £500,000 and £1m. The fee eventually reaches £20,000 for estates above £2m.

Daily Mail, Page: 45

Posted 29/03/2017

 

 

Two brothers have been criticised by a judge after attempting to block their stepmother getting an extra £25,000 in their father’s will. Richard and Jonathan Powell have been ordered to pay £200,000 in legal fees after claiming that their disabled father, David, was unfit to make his final will that gave his second wife £125,000. They claimed that an earlier document, under which Ailsa Williamson Powell, would get £100,000, was his true will. Judge Marc Dight criticised the brothers as “unreasonable” for not accepting that their father and stepmother were a devoted couple and condemned the sons for forcing her to go to court.

The Times, Page: 28   The Daily Telegraph, Page: 12   Evening Standard, Page: 25   Daily Express, Page: 7   Daily Mail, Page: 33

Posted 18/03/2017