§ MR. M. HEALY (Cork)
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the fact that Section 13 of the Finance Bill, as at present drawn, would include all estates no matter what the amount of the assets if the debts of deceased are within £1,000 of the assets; whether it is intended that in the case, for ex ample, of an estate of £50,000, the section shall apply if the debts amount to £49,000 or upwards; whether, under the section, it is the duty of the Inland Revenue officials not merely to receive affidavits, but also to prepare affidavits, the schedules of assets, the bonds, notices, and other documents required by the Court of Probate; and on what grounds it is considered that, in the case of insolvent 589 estates, where no Probate Duty is paid and the State gains nothing, State officials should undertake free of charge the duties of solicitors?
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
It is most improbable that eases of this kind would be brought to the Inland Revenue officials, and not to the District Registrar. The former have now power under the Regulations to decline to deal with cases involving complicated questions of law under £300 gross, and they will have the same power under the new system with regard to cases under £1,000 net. With regard to insolvent estates, there were not more than 58 cases in Ireland last year where an estate was insolvent, though the gross value exceeded £1,000.
§ MR. DANE (Fermanagh, N.)
May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman's attention has beeu drawn to the position of the District Registrar in Ireland as belug paid by fees? Does the right hon. Gentileman realise the position they will hold should they come under the law?
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
No, Sir. I wish it to be understood that the object of this clause is to relieve persons of small property from any legal expenses, even though it may be that the fees of the District Registrar will be less in consequence.