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Sector bodies unite in joint letter to Justice Minister on probate fee concerns

Sector bodies unite in joint letter to Justice Minister on probate fee concerns

The Institute of Fundraising, Remember A Charity, Institute of Legacy Management, and NCVO have sent a joint letter to the Minister of Justice voicing their concerns on the plans to raise probate fees.

The Non-Contentious Probate (Fees) Order 2018 was passed by nine votes to eight last month, with a plan to bring it into effect from 1 April 2019. The current proposal is to abolish the £215 flat-rate probate fee and replace it with fee bands, in which estates valued at less than £50,000 would be exempt from fees and estates worth more than £50,000 would pay between £250 and £6,000.

The letter expresses the concerns held by the IoF, NCVO, Remember A Charity, and Institute of Legacy Management over the potential negative impact of these changes on charitable giving, and proposes taking an alternative approach.

The letter states that while it is understood that probate fees are an essential element of judicial funding, the cost is disproportionate and the fee structure will therefore have unintended consequences that could be detrimental to charitable giving.

The bodies ask to meet with the Minister to discuss a potential way forward that would avoid this, such as introducing a reduction or discounted rate on probate fees for estates that include a legacy gift, which they say would have the effect of both reducing the financial impact on charities, as well as creating an incentive to leave a charitable gift in a Will.

The letter can be read in full on the IoF’s site.

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via www.thepurplepim.com.

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