Probate fee increases are on the Brexit backburner so it seems we can breathe a sigh of relief for now. However we can’t agree with Cover Magazine’s Ruth Gilbert we can drop our guard for a moment.
The government is surfing naked without the 1,700% fee increase to cover the cost of outsourcing Probate Grants. You can bet your last euro the gannets will be back to close the hole in the exchequer.
Some life insurance clients are also likely to be on the warpath soon. The new policy has probate fees capped at £50,000, and that can take a greedy bite out of funds earmarked for a wake.
Pity the poor insurance agent who failed to take reasonable precautions. We wouldn’t want to be in their shoes when the grieving family comes knocking,
Or Be in the Shoes of an Unmarried Partner Either
Meanwhile, the unmarried couple crisis continues. Britain appears still trapped in an archaic tradition that only formally married partners have genuine relationships.
The marrying business must happy with the money that rolls in for wedding tents and banquets. While HM registry office probably makes enough money for eccles cakes with tea.
Pity the faithful unmarried partner when their loved one passes over unexpectedly. They may lose their half share to greedy ‘in-laws’ in the absence of a will.
They may even find themselves saddled with a £50,000 probate fee as they try to sort their lives out after cohabitation. A relationship so happy that getting married might have marred their bliss.
This Situation is Getting Worse as Probate Slumbers On
The probate process is supposed to ensure the wishes of a deceased person come true. Many people regard marriage as a failed experiment because over half end in divorce.
The proportion of unmarried couples in Britain is continuing to increase steadily despite fire and brimstone warnings from some quarters. Partners aged 30 to 34 are at greatest risk (38%) while by age 40 only 20% are still ‘living in sin’.
This is particularly critical since 70% of children had a father aged under 30 when they were born. How would the mother raise the kids if they received nothing under their partner’s estate? What would happen if the house were in their name?
To make this situation worse financial adviser Unbiased reports 72% of 35-54 year olds still do not have a will. A British Social Attitudes Survey revealed half the unmarried couples in Britain still cling to the false hope they have a ‘common law marriage’.
Surely there would be more to gain from the government sorting this out, rather than promoting a discredited online probate process that may make it even harder for unmarried partners to maintain their rights.
If you are in an unmarried relationship please get yourselves wills as safety nets. Joint ones sound cute except both partners are locked in unless both agree to cancel. Therefore, back-to-back individual ones are a more sensible arrangement.
We wrote this post to help unmarried partners navigate through the chaotic probate system we outlined above.