Media Release

Concerned about the cost of living? What about the cost of dying?

24/02/2016 8:00 am

The Greens will today in State Parliament move to “disallow” Regulations which impose unfair fees on the executors of deceased estates applying for a grant of Probate.

The new fees come into operation at the end of this month and will unfairly penalise the families of people who die with large mortgages over their homes or farms.

“The Greens support a tiered fee system for applications for Probate, but it’s quite unfair for these fees to be based on GROSS assets, rather than NET assets.  In determining the value of an estate and therefore the Court Probate fees to be paid, surely account should be taken of what you OWE as well as what you OWN?” asked Mark Parnell MLC, Parliamentary leader of the SA Greens and former solicitor.

“The answer is quite simple: The value of an estate for the purpose of calculating Probate fees should not include amounts owed to banks or other debts.”

“For example, if you die owning a home worth $600,000 your executor will pay $2,000 in probate fees, even if your home is mortgaged 90% to the bank.  Really, your asset is worth only $60,000 to your estate and therefore the lower Probate fee of $750 for smaller estates should apply.”

“The Law Society of SA raised this problem with the Attorney-General 4 months ago, but he has ignored their concerns.  So now it’s up to the Legislative Council to right this wrong and disallow the Regulations.”

“With these new fees coming into operation at the end of February and the earliest opportunity for MPs to vote on the Greens’ disallowance motion being in March, the Greens urge the Government to immediately pull the new Regulations and reintroduce a fairer model that doesn’t penalise the families of ordinary South Australians who die with large mortgages.”

“We are all concerned about the cost of living, but we now need to stop the Government unfairly adding to the cost of dying”, concluded Mark Parnell.

printer friendly version

Get email updates