The BBC has this week reported that the Ministry of Justice are proposing an increase in probate death fees to as much as £20,000 for those with large estates.

Currently, fees are fixed at either £155 or £215 and under the new proposals it is suggested that most people will pay less. However, anyone with an estate worth more than £50,000 will pay considerably more.

Those worth between £50,000 and £300,000 will pay £300 with fees rising to a maximum of £20,000 for estates worth more than £2m.

Some critics are suggesting that the proposals represent an increase in inheritance tax via the backdoor, particularly in the case of married couples where fees will have to be paid on both the first death and the second death - so a total of £40,000 for estates valued at the higher end of the new fee scale.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice defended the plans and has stated "Court fees are never popular but they are necessary. We have got to make sure our courts and tribunals are properly funded at the same time as cutting the budget deficit"

The government will consult on the proposals between now and April but what are your views? A table outlining the proposed fees are below, do you think they represent 'value for money'? Let us know your views on

Value of Estate Proposed fee
Less than £50,000 £0
£50,000 to £300,000 £300
£300,000 to £500,000 £1,000
£500,000 to £1m £4,000
£1m to £1.6m £8,000
£1.6m to 2m £12,000
Above £2m £20,000