I have recently noticed an intensified recruitment drive for private client solicitors across London-great news for those on the hunt for their next role! Perhaps this comes as no surprise in this fast evolving, media-driven and thought evoking area of law, the latest development that caught my eye was the new proposed “death tax” which aims to hit the wealthiest families in the UK.
In a nutshell, “death tax” targets the beneficiaries of estates in excess of £2million by imposing an eye-watering probate fee of £20,000 to administer the estate. Given that currently executors are paying £215 for individual applications whereas those made via a solicitor are just £155, this drastic increase is causing a media uproar and controversy especially for property owners in London.
To add a softer touch, the government has estimated that some 30,000 estates will be exempt from paying the probate fee altogether, this is said to be achieved by yet another proposal namely, raising the exemption threshold of not having to pay any fees to £50,000 (from £5,000).
So what is the motivation behind all these changes? Well, the Ministry of Justice is hoping to raise £250 million a year to fund and re-vamp the courts and tribunal service.
From my experience of representing clients at the Magistrates Court, I can wholeheartedly say that a transformation of the system is needed to “fix” the problems within it-to name a few: long delays in calling in cases due to sheer volume, lack of case papers (yes, really!) and pointless adjournments (mostly due to interpreters not being booked!)
No doubt, the criminal court system needs additional funding to solve its problems but I am not convinced this is the way to do it especially as property owners in London will be hit the hardest…as if astronomical property prices and inheritance tax were not an obstacle in itself!
Back on topic, whatever the future of this latest proposal, one thing is crystal clear…private client solicitors are in high-demand, and will be for some time to come. From a recruiter’s perspective, there has not been a better time for candidates to explore the market especially as opportunities are wide and varied from unconventional in-house roles, niche boutique firms, Legal 500 giants to specialist charity focused positions….the choice is yours!
If you are considering making a move, I would be more than happy to assist in securing your next role.