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Law firm raises awareness of imminent fees hike
Law firm Hibberts LLP lent their support to a special event dedicated to helping people plan for their future and how to fund it.
The ‘mythbuster’ afternoon held at the Methodist Church in Nantwich, comes as the Ministry of Justice is set to impose probate fees of up to £20,000 from May despite national opposition to the changes which will affect millions of people.
Speaking at the event, Hibberts LLP legal executive Jane Hunter, said raising awareness of the fee change was essential so families can plan how they will pay them, as well as for other essential future costs such as private care or health fees.
Labelled the ‘death tax’ Hibberts LLP, were one of hundreds of legal firms opposed to the change, which increases probate fees from their current flat fee of £215 (£155 if you are using a Solicitor) , to up to £20,000 for estates worth £2m or more under the new sliding scale. The charge is paid in addition to inheritance tax, which is levied at 40 per cent on assets above each individual’s £325,000 threshold.
She added: “Estates below £50,000 will pay nothing at all, but if they’re worth more than that they will be forced to pay increased fees for what is essentially, a standard administrative process.
“The farming community will be hit particularly hard by this as their assets are often tied up in the land, so they don’t have access to that cash to pay the fees.
“Now anyone who has not already got their probate application underway will be subject to these new fees, as the process can take around six to eight weeks.”
Jane said the lack of awareness surrounding the fees was just one of several issues which commonly cause confusion for families.
“For example, people often don’t think they need a will because they believe their family know what they want, or that their next of kin will automatically inherit everything.
“Another one is they don’t see why they should pay for their care and don’t want to pay care fees, but the reality is to enjoy quality of care you have to plan and pay for it.
“A lot of people think if they give their property away to their children they can avoid care home fees for example, but under insolvency legislation that transaction can be reversed should you need to go into local authority care.
“So the most important point, which hopefully I was able to get across at this event, is that it’s essential to plan ahead.
“How you want to live now, then at 65 then at 85 can be very different. You can’t avoid all the fees and taxes, so it’s important to be aware of them and the impact they have on you and your loved ones.”
Anyone interested in further information or advice on planning for their future can contact Jane by calling 01270 624225 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org