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Warning to seek advice if proposed probate fees hike goes ahead

The Government is pressing ahead with plans to implement a massive hike in probate fees which could cost some families thousands of pounds more than current levels.

If the controversial proposals go ahead from as early as the next financial year, estates worth up to £1m will incur a fee of up to £2,500 while those above £2m will see costs escalate to £6,000.

Currently, there is a £215 flat rate for a grant of probate which allows the executor of a will to access and distribute an individual’s estate when they die. If their affairs are handled by a solicitor, then that reduces to £155.

Experts at Whitley Stimpson, one of the largest independent accountancy practices in the area, with offices in Banbury, Bicester, High Wycombe and Witney, say it is important everyone is aware of the potential changes and their implications.

Val Buzzard, a director at the firm, said: “Handling the estate of a loved one when they die can be stressful, especially at a time of grieving. Being faced with these new costs could add to the distress, especially as they will come on top of inheritance tax.

“The fees will apply to a large number of people in the South East because property values are higher, adding to the value of the estate so they will kick in even if there is little else left in a will.

“Anyone concerned about the implications of taking on a grant of probate should seek expert help.”

Whitley Stimpson has a team of specialists who advise on the full spectrum of financial matters from business and personal tax to wealth management, wills and inheritance tax.

For further details, please contact Val Buzzard, on 01295 270200 or valb@whitleystimpson.co.uk