Millions of people in England and Wales face a large rise in fees payable after death, to raise an extra £250m for the courts service.
The Ministry of Justice wants an increase in probate fees to as much as £20,000 for those with the biggest estates.
At the moment such fees are fixed at either £155 or £215.
Grant of probate gives executors the right to distribute the proceeds of someone’s will.
Under the new proposals, most people – including the less wealthy – will pay less.
Currently the fee is chargeable on any estate worth more than £5,000. This threshold will rise to £50,000, meaning that 57% of estates will pay nothing.
However, anyone with an estate worth more than £50,000 will pay considerably more.
Those worth between £50,000 and £300,000 will pay £300, with fees rising to a maximum of £20,000 for estate worth more than £2m.
The government will consult on the proposals between now and April.