Lawyers plan to fight plans to reform probate fees

The Sunday Times reveals that the Law Society and others are preparing to fight Government plans to reform probate fees, which will, from April, be banded according to an estate’s value. They fear the changes could force families to use unregulated planning services for IHT in an effort to shield their assets from HMRC. Lawyers point out that fees levied as a percentage of an estate have been outlawed in the legal profession. Elsewhere, the Sunday Telegraph reports on how banks are cashing in on rules requiring families to pay IHT before a grant of probate gives access to the deceased’s estate. Banks are offering bridging loans but at high rates of interest. Gavin Holt, a probate specialist at Co-op Legal Services, said the scenario was common where the deceased left little or no liquid assets but had a property worth more than tax-free limits. Rachael Griffin, a tax expert at wealth management firm Quilter, said the system “at its worst is akin to pickpocketing a widow.”

The Sunday Times, Business, Page: 16    The Sunday Telegraph, Page: 9  

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