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Business & Economy

Newcastle private client lawyer welcomes governments u-turn on probate fees hike

Rebecca Harbron Gray, a partner and Head of Wills, Trusts and Estates at Newcastle-based Gordon Brown Law Firm LLP (GBLF) has welcomed the Government announcement by the Ministry of Justice that plans to increase probate fees have been scrapped.

The proposals called for fees on estates worth more than £2 million to increase from £215 to £20,000, however it was confirmed at the weekend (12 October 2019) that the bill would not be included in the Queen’s Speech and had been scrapped.

The plans, also referred to as a ‘tax on grief’, were deemed unfair by many professionals across the legal sector as it was set to generate money to fund other areas of the judicial system that were not linked to estates.

Rebecca Harbron Gray is STEP qualified (the professional body for inheritance and trust advisors). She was the first lawyer in the North East to qualify in Cross Border Estates. Rebecca deals with the complex issues of estate administration and the different issues that arise when dealing with cross-border planning and succession.

Rebecca said: “At Gordon Brown Law Firm, we welcome the Government’s decision to scrap the suggested increase to probate fees for estates worth more than £2 million.

“I know that STEP has worked for months to highlight the unfairness of this proposed increase in probate fees, which amounted to a stealth tax on those who had lost loved ones.

“Grieving families struggle with many painful emotions so I am extremely relieved for my clients that this decision has been made. It now brings to an end the uncertainty and worry that these proposals have caused my clients at such a difficult time in their lives.

“I hope dearly the Probate Registry are now able to concentrate their efforts on the backlog of probate applications currently with them now the fees position seems somewhat stable.”