Proposed changes to Probate Fees
There is much speculation in the media at present with regard to the announcement in November 2018 by the government of their intention to restructure the way in which applications for probate are charged.
Currently, any estates exceeding £5,000 are charged at a flat rate fee of £210 (£155 if represented by a solicitor). Estates below £5,000 do not attract a fee.
The suggested proposals bring in a six-band fee tier system whereby the probate fee will vary depending on the size of the gross estate (before tax) of the person who has died.
This new probate fee structure means that any probate applications involving estates exceeding £50,000 will attract a higher fee than at present. In particular, any estates exceeding £300,000 will be hit with a fee increase of almost five times the current fee. Estates exceeding £500,000,00 but less than one million will be charged a probate fee of £2,500 under the proposed rules and in some of the largest estates exceeding 2 million the probate fee will rise to £6,000.
Inevitably, these new probate fees will of course put a large proportion of families under significant financial pressure as to how they will meet the cost of the probate fee at a time when the deceased’s bank accounts are likely to be inaccessible.
One advantage to the new fee scheme is that they have increased the value at which no probate fee is payable so that any probate applications for estates less than £50,000.00 will not attract a fee.
With the guidance from the government that the new fees will come into force some 21 days after final parliament approval, which could happen at any time, it is advisable that families currently dealing with new estates of loved ones seek to apply for probate as a matter of urgency with a view to avoiding the inevitable increased fees.
If you’d like any probate advice, contact our Wills & Probate specialists on 0800 160 10 10.