Scrapping of "back door tax" hailed by Shropshire lawyer
25th April 2017
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A Government U-turn on plans to increase probate fees - a “backdoor tax” which could have seen grieving families having to pay thousands more when administering their late relatives’ estates - has been hailed by a Shropshire law firm.

Lanyon Bowdler’s Tristan Lewis, a member of Solicitors for the Elderly, a national association of lawyers providing legal advice to older people and their families, said the move was great news.

“We are delighted to hear the proposed probate fees have been dropped,” he said. “It was very clear from the offset that the new system was nothing more than a backdoor tax and the Government had abused its powers in pushing them through under the guise of a fee.


“To call the new system ‘proportionate’ was frankly ridiculous when you consider that some larger estates were set to see a 13,000 per cent increase in fees.
“What’s more, by proceeding with the changes, ministers point-blank ignored the views of almost every respondent involved in the consultation process.

“Since then, Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) has campaigned hard, alongside other organisations, to have these changes reviewed. Our organisation is made up of over 1,500 lawyers across the country and not one member agreed with the fees.
“In the meantime, we have seen a dramatic increase in enquiries from older and vulnerable people worried about the fees.

“Our fear was that some people may have been led to attempt to avoid the fees by decreasing the value of their estate, thereby leaving themselves with insufficient assets to provide for the rest of their life.

“With the current social care crisis facing the country, the unintended consequences of this change could have been disastrous. We are extremely relieved to hear this has now been avoided.”

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