"This delay is likely going to be one of the few positive things that stem from the uncertainty that the ongoing Brexit negotiations is creating. All those who have been trying to rush probate cases through before the increase might be able to breathe a sigh of relief as there is now an unspecified window of opportunity to process their case under the existing charge structure. However, there shouldn’t be any premature celebrations as this seems to be a short reprieve at best. It still remains the case that people should expect be hit in the future by what lots are calling a stealth tax.
"The much maligned increase could still become reality as soon as the government has the capacity to deal with anything other than Brexit. As the Delegated Legislation Committee chose not block the MoJ’s plan it means it can pass through the House of Commons as a statutory instrument rather as primary legislation and therefore requires less parliamentary scrutiny. For those against the increase there is some light on the horizon as there are suggestions that Labour is going to seek to block the issue.
"The salient point is that under the proposals estates are effectively being double-taxed – once for inheritance tax of 40% above the nil rate band and then again through tiered probate fees. If the government want to do this it should be conducted in a transparent way and not through a back door fee hike.
"Although the MoJ are presenting this as a fee which covers the cost of processing probate cases, in reality it is far closer to a tax mechanism. This was made clear when the Office for Budget Responsibility highlighted that it expects the Office for National Statistics to classify the fees as a tax on capital and to generate £155 million a year in additional tax receipts."