Probate Court Fees – Take 2
You may remember back in 2017 that the Government suddenly dropped plans to increase Probate fees prior to the election, however, now, it appears the cost for getting Probate is set to increase for most, again.
Currently it costs £155 to get a Grant of Representation when a solicitor applies and for those making personal applications a fee of £215 is payable.
Earlier this year revised proposals to increase the court fee payable on an application for a Grant were set out.Although the new proposal sets out fees lower than those suggested in 2017, for most estates there will be a significant increase from the current charge.
A date has not yet been confirmed for when the new fee structure will apply, but it seems likely that this will be some time from April this year.
The proposed fee structure:
Value of gross estate
Up to £50,000 or exempt from requiring
a grant of probate
£50,000 – £300,000
£300,000 – £500,000
£500,000 – £1m
£1m – £1.6m
£1.6m – £2m
This tiered structure will lead to the more valuable estates suffering a higher fee, which will catch most estates in this part of the country where there is a property. Such a mechanism is considered by many to be akin to a tax mechanism and depending upon how you view this, may leave you feeling like the estate is being taxed twice if IHT is also chargeable. Such sentiments were shared in the House of Lords where the new fees were voted on favourably despite a number of Lords severely criticising the changes as a stealth or death tax, rather than an enhanced fee.
It is understood that the fees will raise an additional annual sum of £145m from 2019/20, rising to £185m in 2022/23, and will be ringfenced to fund the courts and tribunal service which in previous years has not met its running costs from the fees alone.
In summary, in some cases those applying for a Grant may benefit by waiting until April if the estate is valued at less than £50,000 but for the majority of estates, it seems likely that the cost of getting Probate is set to increase.
If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact Bernard Flanagan.
Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.