Probate fees are due to rise sharply at the start of May.

For the highest value estates, it will cost £20,000 for a family to execute the wishes of the deceased's will.

This is a huge increase compared to the current flat fees; £155 or £215 depending on who is completing the probate process.

The new probate fees are based on a sliding scale, starting at £0 for an estate with a value up to £50,000 before inheritance tax, for £20,000 for estates with a value exceeding.

A typical estate here in Surrey is often valued at more than £1m, once property and investments are taken into account, and this would be subject to a new probate fee of £8,000.

The introduction of these new probate fees is an opportunity to revisit your estate planning and make sure you have appropriate provision in place.

Because these fees are in addition to inheritance tax, which is charged at 40% on the value of your estate over the nil rate band of £325,000, they can make a big dent in any inheritance for children or grandchildren.

Do speak to us if you have any questions about your inheritance tax planning and we will be happy to help.