Costs of Probate set to rise

Sunday, 09 April 2017 | Deniece Lines

Following a consultation the government has proposed a change in the fee structure when applying for a Grant of Representation. 

When a solicitor makes the application the Court fee is £155 at present (£215 for applicants in person) regardless of the value of estate (estates under £5,000 not included).   The proposed changes will be:

- £300 for estates worth more than £50,000 and up to £300,000

- £1,000 for estates worth more than £300,000 and up to £500,000

- £4,000 for estates worth more than £500,000 and up to £1 million

- £8,000 for estates worth more than £1m and up to £1.6 million

- £12,000 for estates worth more than £1.6m and up to £2 million

- £20,000 for estates worth more than £2 million

These fees will apply regardless of who inherits the estate so no exemptions are available for spouses or charities.

There is no additional work involved by the Probate Registry under the new fee structure.  It is  being introduced to raise an extra income to cover the costs of running the Court Service.  This is the Court fee that is payable to obtain the Grant and is completely separate from inheritance tax and any legal or administration expenses.  Traditionally solicitors would fund the Court fee of £155 but this is unlikely to be the case when the new fee structure is implemented.  The fee is payable up front when applying for a Grant.

If the changes are approved they will apply to Grants applied for from May 2017. 

What should you do?  

Before making any unwise decisions to try and minimise the Court fee it is vital that you take professional advice.  Please contact us on 01344 512370 to discuss how the new fee might impact on your estate and what steps, if any, can be taken now in relation to your assets and estate planning.