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Press comment: Probate fee delay extends window of opportunity but likely just a short reprieve


If you are covering the reports that the proposed probate fee hike has been delayed due to Brexit, please see the following comment from Rachael Griffin, tax and financial planning expert at Quilter:  

Rachael Griffin"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."

For more information contact

Alex Berry023 8072 626007741

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 £118.4 billion in investments (as at 30 June 2019).

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: Advice and Wealth Management and Wealth Platforms.

Advice and Wealth Management encompasses the financial advice business, Quilter Financial Planning; the discretionary fund management business, Quilter Cheviot; and Quilter Investors, the Multi-asset investment solutions business.

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

The Quilter plc businesses are being re-branded as follows: 

  • Quilter Financial Planning (previously Intrinsic)
  • Quilter Private Client Advisers (previously Old Mutual Wealth Private Client Advisers)
  • Charles Derby Group (becoming Quilter Financial Advisers)
  • Quilter Financial Adviser School
  • Quilter Cheviot
  • Quilter Investors
  • Old Mutual Wealth (becoming Quilter Wealth Solutions in 2020)
  • Old Mutual International (becoming Quilter International in 2020)

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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.