Rise in Probate Fees – Shelved

Rising Probate Fees

The planned rise in Probate fees which would have significantly increased the fees payable from larger estates has been shelved by the Government after calling the forthcoming general election.

To administer an estate Executors appointed in a Will or next-of-kin if there is no Will usually have to apply for a legal document called a Grant of Probate (if there is a Will) or a Grant of Letters of Administration (if there is no Will). At present, an application for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is a flat fee of £215 for personal applications or £155 if a solicitor makes the application, regardless of the size of the estate. The fees were due to dramatically rise in May 2017 and were to be based on the size of the estate.

Estate values have risen considerably in recent years due to the rise in property values. One of the public concerns is that the proposed new Probate Court fees would have to be paid before there is access to the estate assets. This is currently not a problem as the fees are low but under the proposed increase, if an estate was worth more than £500,000 a Probate Court fee of £4,000 would need to be found from somewhere before the estate could start to be administered.

 

Changes In Probate Fees

The proposed changes to the fee structure were as follows:-

  • Less than £50,000: no fee
  • £50,001 to £300,000: Fees to rise to £300.
  • £300,001 to £500,000: Fees to rise to £1,000.
  • £500,001 to £1 million: Fees to rise to £4,000.
  • £1 million up to £1.6 million: Fees to rise to £8,000. 
  • £1.6 million up to £2 million: Fees to rise to £12,000. 
  • Over £2 million fees to raise to £20,000

The proposed changes, instigated by the Ministry of Justice, had looked to be rushed through Parliament ahead of the general election. The widespread disapproval of the proposals has led to them being put on the back burner. The result of the general election on June 8th will prove to be vital for the future of Probate Court fees. The current Government, if re-elected would be expected to follow through with the proposal for increasing the fees.

The proposed changes were strongly criticised by politicians and the legal sector alike and were described as a 'stealth tax'. Respected figures voiced their concerns that the proposed changes may have even been illegal which would have undoubtedly led to challenge had they been introduced.

 

“I am delighted that the proposed increase in Probate fees will not be happening as it was an extremely unfair and unpopular proposal which would have put considerable pressure on already bereaved families. Sadly, I think this may just be a temporary reprieve and that if re-elected, the Government will look to put this back on the agenda so it is still important to plan for the future and if someone needs a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, they should apply for it without delay." - Stephen Coates. Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate.

 

Stephen Coates is head of our Wills, Trusts and Probate team, dealing with a wide range of personal business disputes ranging from Will, trust and probate disputes to criminal and personal injury. Emma brings extensive and varied experience, including having worked on numerous contested probate cases and general litigation cases that progressed to Appeal at the High Court

 

 

 

Stephen Coates - Head of Wills, Trust & Probate

 

About Taylor Bracewell

Taylor Bracewell operates from offices in Thorne Road and Ten Pound Walk in Doncaster and Fountain Precinct in Sheffield. Specialist areas are: Family Law, Business Law, Personal Law (including Wills, Probate, Trusts and Conveyancing), Dispute Resolution, HR & Employment Law, Charity Law.

You can contact us at hello@taylorbracewell.co.uk or call us on 01302 341 414 in Doncaster or 0114 272 1884 in Sheffield.

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