Probate fee changes 'could cost sector £18m'

The Institute of Legacy Management says government plans to scrap the flat fee and introduce a banded structure could severely reduce legacy income for charities

Probate: ILM warning
Probate: ILM warning

Charities could lose £18m a year because of changes to probate fees, the Institute of Legacy Management has warned.

The Ministry of Justice is planning, in May, to abolish the existing £215 flat fee for probate applications on estates worth more than £5,000 and introduce a new, banded structure based on the value of an estate.

Under the new system, which will apply only to estates worth more than £50,000, a £500,000 estate would incur a probate fee of £4,000.

Lawyers have already warned that changes to probate fees could cause a significant reduction in legacy income for charities, and the ILM has published its assessment of the changes.

It said in a statement today that the changes would probably result in a reduction of about £18m a year in charity income.

The membership body, which represents about 600 legacy professionals working in charities and law firms specialising in legacies, said it was calling for an exemption from any fee where a charity is the applicant and where all of an estate goes to charities.

Failing that, it would like to see a minimal fixed fee for charities introduced.

The ILM said it would be seeking members’ views on the matter and would be contacting the MoJ in due course.

It said it was also concerned about increased pressure on executors. The ILM said they would have to find the increased costs, which it estimated to be as high as £20,000 in some cases, from their own resources before they had access to any money from the estate.

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