A “DEATH tax” that could hit grieving families with bills of up to £6,000 could be passed without scrutiny from MPs.

The cost of securing probate, which is the fee you pay to apply for the legal right to deal with someone's estate when they die, will soar from April.

Currently, families face probate fees of £215 if the value of the estate is £5,000 or over, or no fee if the estate is under £5,000.

These fees are applied regardless of whether the person who died has a will.

But from April families face a £250 charge on estates valued at £50,000 to £300,000, rising to £6,000 for those worth more than £2million.

Almost 300,000 families a year will pay more than the current £215 fee.

The rises will see the Ministry of Justice, headed by Lord Chancellor David Gauke, rake in an extra £185million a year by 2022/23.

Plans to hike probate fees were revealed in November 2018, but ministers are now being accused of trying to avoid parliamentary scrutiny by categorising the death tax as a fee — which means MPs cannot vote on the probate hike.

It can only be overturned by an MP issuing a formal protest in the chamber.

Lib Dem Sir Vince Cable told The Daily Mail: “This is a clear abuse of executive power.

“Fees must be paid upfront so the vastly increased sums involved will see bereaved relatives having to take out loans just to access what has been left to them.”

The Law Society’s Hugo Forshaw added: “These are not fees at all — they are a stealth tax.

“Since 1215’s Magna Carta, kings and governments have been required to put legislation before Parliament for approval before raising a new tax.

“It will set a dangerous precedent for tax rises if the Government gets away with such an egregious misuse of powers.”

The Government says that of those who do end up having to fork out for fees, 80 per cent of estates will pay £750 or less.

One pregnant widow was left "homeless" when the bank repossessed and sold her family home after husband died without a will.