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Suddenly Very Expensive To Die

Suddenly Very Expensive To Die

Suddenly Very Expensive To Die

Date: February 24, 2017

It may suddenly become significantly more expensive to die in England & Wales after the Government has today announced the result of its consultation into increasing the court fee for issuing Probate. The response sets out details of the Government’s plans to proceed with changes to Probate fees to introduce a banded structure where fees increase in line with the value of the estate, and the reasons behind that decision.

Subject to parliamentary approval, it is expected that fee increases will come into effect in May 2017 and will see a sharp rise form the current £155 fee for any estate valued over £50,000. The new fees will be:

Estate Value

New fee

Up to £50,000

£0

£50,001 to £300,000

£300

£300,001 - £500,000

£1,000

£500,001 - £1m

£4,000

£1m - £1.6m

£8,000

£1.6m - £2m

£12,000

Above £2m

£20,000

As the fee has to be paid at the time an application for Probate is submitted to the Court, the question has to be asked who will foot the bill? A deceased’s assets are often frozen until probate has been issued and whilst solicitors have been willing to cover the £155 fee previously, the new level of fees means that they would not be able to, leaving family members to cover the £1,000s in the short term to administer and estate.

It is yet to be confirmed whether the May 2017 deadline applies only to deaths occurring after that date or whether it is any application for Probate made afterwards which could mean a mad rush to submit Probate applications prior to May.