Not long after the Budget announcement, The Ministry of Justice has announced plans to increase the fees charged when making an application for probate.
Probate is usually needed to administer someone’s estate after they have passed away regardless of whether or not that person has a Will.
Currently, the Court charges a flat fee of £215 if an individual is applying or £155 if a solicitor makes the application. Today’s announcement means that this fee will now be charged on a sliding scale depending on the value of the estate, and it has been dubbed by many as a “stealth tax”. Such proposals in this area were first raised in February 2017, but they were eventually scrapped, until today when they have resurfaced.
At present, any estate valued at less than £5,000 is exempt from the probate fee altogether, and the current proposal is that this threshold will be increased so that all estates under £50,000 will now be exempt. However, for estates that exceed this threshold they will be charged in accordance with the table below:
|Value of Estate||New Probate Fee|
|Less than £50,000||£0|
|£50,000 – £300,000||£250|
|£300,000 – £500,000||£750|
|£500,000 – £1m||£2,500|
|£1m – £1.6m||£4,000|
|£1.6m – £2m||£5,000|
It is expected this new fee structure will be implemented in April 2019 and full details of the government proposals can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/announcement-on-probate-fees
In view of this substantial increase, it would be advisable to act quickly in dealing with probate following the death of a loved one. If you need any help or guidance please contact our Private Client Team who can arrange a free initial probate consultation. This article was written by Chris Dickinson, an Associate at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of November 2018.