Families could be hit by a “death tax” as they grieve for loved-ones who’ve tragically passed away.
Thousands of bereaved Brummies could face a jump in fees payable after the death of a relative.
The cost of securing probate — legal control over a relative’s estate — will soar from April.
The maximum charge for a grant of probate will be £6,000 under a new sliding scale.
Obtaining a grant of probate is the process by which someone is given the authority to deal with the property, money and possessions of someone after they die.
It is usually sought by the executor of a will or a person acting on their behalf.
Around half of deaths lead to an application for a grant of probate in England and Wales.
Families face a £250 charge on estates valued at £50,000 to £300,000.
This soars to £6,000 for those worth more than £2million.
The Ministry of Justice will take in an extra £185million a year by 2022/23 thanks to the rises.
Lib Dem Sir Vince Cable told The Daily Mail: “This is a clear abuse of executive power.
“Fees must be paid upfront so the vastly increased sums involved will see bereaved relatives having to take out loans just to access what has been left to them.”
The Law Society’s Hugo Forshaw added: “These are not fees at all — they are a stealth tax.
“Since 1215’s Magna Carta, kings and governments have been required to put legislation before Parliament for approval before raising a new tax.
“It will set a dangerous precedent for tax rises if the Government gets away with such an egregious misuse of powers.”
Justice minister Lucy Frazer said: “Our system will see thousands of bereaved families paying no probate fees at all – protecting 25,000 estates each year.
“We have listened closely to concerns around early proposals.
“Fees will never be more than 0.5% of the estate’s value, and are recoverable from the estate.
“Fees will be set at a level to ensure that they will only be paid by those who can afford them, with all income going directly to our courts and tribunals – ensuring justice is done, and protecting victims and vulnerable people.”