Charitable organisations have urged the government to reconsider controversial proposals to increase some probate fees so that estates including bequests to charities are not adversely affected.

In an open letter to justice minister Lucy Frazer QC, the Institute of Fundraising, Remember A Charity, the Institute of Legacy Management and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations warn that the proposed new fee structure has ‘unintended consequences that could be detrimental to charitable giving’.

The government’s proposals would see the cost of administering probate reflect the value of the estate, replacing a flat fee. For the wealthiest estates, this would mean a rise from £155 to £6,000. But people with estates worth less than £50,000 will not pay any fees - at present this exemption is only for people with estates worth £5,000 or less. The Law Society has described the proposals as ‘a misuse of the lord chancellor’s fee-levying powers’.