Probate fees – Important changes

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New Probate Fees due to come in May 2017

Time is ticking fast for those wishing to apply for Grants of Probate.  The government’s plan to raise probate fees is likely to costs thousands of pounds for estates which are relatively modest in size.

The statutory instrument introducing the new fees is before Parliament at the moment and is due to be approved in the coming weeks. Nevertheless for now, but not for long, applications for Grants of Probate carry a fixed fee of £155 if made by a solicitor and £215 if made by an individual.

If Parliament decides to approve the radical change, the new fee structure will be based on the value of the estate starting with exempt estates and reaching £20,000 for estates worth more than £2,000,000.

Wills and Probate Department

            

New fee structure:
Value of estate (before inheritance tax)                                     Proposed fee
Up to £50,000 or exempt from requiring a grant of probate £0
Exceeds £50,000 but does not exceed £300,000; £300
Exceeds £300,000 but does not exceed £500,000; £1,000
Exceeds £500,000 but does not exceed £1,000,000; £4,000
Exceeds £1,000,000 but does not exceed £1,600,000; £8,000
Exceeds £1,600,000 but does not exceed £2,000,000; £12,000
Exceeds £2,000,000 £20,000

 

Individuals dealing with estates should be advised to seek professional advice regarding the new probate fees. Getting legal advice as soon as possible can potentially save thousands of pounds.

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Why should I care?

Because probate fees are not optional. They must be paid when an application for Grant of Probate is made.

What is the practical difference?

Money. You still need to know the value of the deceased estate but you will be paying the Government a fee depending on the estate value as oppose to the existing flat fee of £155 if the application is made by a solicitor or £215 if made by an individual.

Does my solicitor make more money?

No, solicitors’ fees are not affected. Probate fees go to the Government.

Is it likely to happen?

The issue has received a great publicity. It is for Parliament to decide but the Government appears to be pretty determined to push the new probate fees through.

What can I do to take advantage of the existing fees?

Act now. Get estates administration done as soon as possible. Call us without delay and we will provide you with relevant guidance that could save you thousands of pounds.

If you wish to speak to a member of our Private Client team about how this could affect you, please contact James Hadley on 0208 232 9560

April 2017

Jakub Kotan – Private client department – Garner & Hancock