It has been suggested that the new probate fee structures could be detrimental to charitable giving, as the amount of money charities will receive will decrease because of the increases in probate fees. The changes will also affect estates where the deceased has left an entire estate or a part of their Residuary Estate to charity.
The ILM has calculated that the proposed changes will cost the charity sector in excess of £10m annually in legacy income and have asked, along with other sector organisations, for the Government to consider a reduced or discounted rate on probate fees for estates that include charitable giving.
Solicitor and Chair of the Institute of Legacy Management, and Head of Legacy Professional Partnerships at Cancer Research UK, Maria King said:
“The Institute of Legacy Management is concerned that to save money people may choose not to instruct professionals to carry out Probate, might renounce their executorship, or simply not apply for Probate in order to avoid the fee.
“This causes us concern, as residuary charities may need to divert funds away from their charitable objectives to pay for upfront Probate Fees when they step in as administrator. Additionally, anything that could deter the probate process is a risk to vital legacy income.”
However, we will have to wait to see if any further thought is given to a charity exemption or reduction on fees.
We have not yet given up hope that the Government will think again on this issue and are asking whether they will consider implementing an exemption for estates that are largely or wholly left to charity.