Press comment on the Government’s consultation response on fee proposals for Grant of Probates issued on Friday | Old Mutual Wealth
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Press comment on the Government’s consultation response on fee proposals for Grant of Probates issued on Friday

27/02/2017

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/fee-proposals-for-grants-of-probate

The flat rate fee of £215 (or £155 if using a solicitor) will change to one which is tiered based on assets. The change will mean lower value estates are exempt from any charge, but the charge on estates which exceed £50,000 will increase – some quite dramatically.

Those with assets of over £1m will have to pay probate fees of between £8,000 and £20,000. With the rise in house prices, this could impact a growing number of people.

It is questionable whether the size of someone’s estate determines the amount of work required by the courts. So simply creating a fee structure based on estate value will doubtlessly create a system where higher value cases fund the probate service for low value cases.

People will need to consider how beneficiaries access the required funds to pay the probate fee, as until the probate fee is paid, the assets cannot be released, although some measures to help people access cash from the estate are being considered.

Gordon Andrews, financial planning expert, Old Mutual Wealth, comments :

“It is disappointing the Government plans to press ahead with the new fee structure for Grants of Probates despite wide-scale concern from the industry.  The move from a flat rate fee structure to one which is tiered based on assets could, in theory, have been an acceptable model, but the level of fees imposed are arguably unjustified.

“At its crudest, one could argue that this is yet another stealth tax being levied by the Government, which can add up to 1% in fees on the value of an estate.

“These proposed changes will add further complexity to estate planning. Using trusts can help reduce the value of an estate for inheritance tax purposes, meaning a lower charge will apply. People concerned about how beneficiaries will pay the probate fees could leave sufficient funds in a life insurance policy, and provided the policy is written in trust, it can be accessed immediately on death, without the need for probate.”

For more information contact

Sophie HeywoodOld Mutual Wealth02380 91677007834 499558sophie.heywood@omwealth.com

Notes to editors:

About Quilter plc:

Quilter plc is a leading wealth management business in the UK and internationally, helping to create prosperity for the generations of today and tomorrow.

Quilter plc oversees £116.5 billion in customer investments (as at 30 June 2018).

It has an adviser and customer offering spanning: financial advice; investment platforms; multi-asset investment solutions and discretionary fund management.

The business is comprised of two segments: Wealth Platforms and Advice and Wealth Management.

Wealth Platforms includes the Old Mutual Wealth UK Platform; Old Mutual International, including AAM Advisory in Singapore; and the Old Mutual Wealth Heritage life assurance business.

Advice and Wealth Management encompasses the financial planning network, Intrinsic; Old Mutual Wealth Private Client Advisers; discretionary fund management business, Quilter Cheviot; and the Multi-asset investment solutions business.

The Quilter plc businesses are being re-branded to Quilter over a period of approximately two years:

• The Multi-asset business is now Quilter Investors

• Intrinsic to Quilter Financial Planning

• Private Client Advisers to Quilter Private Client Advisers

• The UK Platform to Quilter Wealth Solutions

• The International business to Quilter International

• The Heritage life assurance business to Quilter Life Assurance

• Quilter Cheviot will retain its name

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This communication is issued by Quilter plc.  Registered office: Millennium Bridge House, 2 Lambeth Hill, London EC4V 4AJ, United Kingdom. Registered number: 6404270.  Registered in England.