Breaking News: Probate Fee Increase Scrapped Ahead of the General Election.

This is a major development for those concerned with estates and inheritance tax planning.

Probate fees had been due to rise from £155 or £215 to up to £20,000 for some estates in England and Wales from May.

The Ministry of Justice said there was now not enough time for the legislation.

Currently, there is a flat fee of either £155 or £215 per application for probate, depending on whether or not the application is made through a solicitor.

There is no fee paid for estates worth under £5,000.

Under the proposed changes, this system would have been replaced by a sliding fee scale linked to the value of the estate.

Thousands of people would have faced sharp jumps in probate costs as a result.

Estates worth more than £50,000 and up to £300,000 would have attracted fees of £300, rising to £20,000 for those valued at more than £2m.

Earlier this month, a committee of MPs and peers questioned whether the changes were legal, adding that the new charges “appear… to have the hallmarks of taxes rather than fees”. On top of inheritance tax this does begin to have the appearance of a ‘death tax’.

The fees had been earmarked to raise around £300m a year towards running the courts and tribunal service.

The new system would also have seen the threshold below which no fee was payable increased from £5,000 to £50,000, lifting an estimated additional 25,000 estates per year out of the requirement to pay a probate fee.