Probate Fee Increase
Proposals put forward by the Ministry of Justice could see Probate fees increasing to £6,000 for some families.
At present, the fee for applying for a grant of representation, commonly known as ‘Probate’ is £215 for a personal application and £155 if a solicitor makes the application. However, the proposals put forward shortly after the Budget would introduce a graduated fee structure based upon the value of an estate.
The proposed changes can be summarised as follows:
- Estates worth less than £50,000 will pay nothing, meaning estates worth between £5,000 and £50,000 will save £215 compared to the current system.
- Estates worth from £50,000 up to £300,000 will pay £250, a rise of £35.
- Estates worth from £300,000 up to £500,000 will pay £750, a rise of £535.
- Estates worth from £500,000 up to £1 million will pay £2,500, a rise of £2,285.
- Estates worth from £1 million up to £1.6 million will pay £4,000, a rise of £3,785.
- Estates worth from £1.6 million up to £2 million will pay £5,000, a rise of £4,785.
- Estates worth more than £2 million will pay £6,000, a rise of £5,785.
The fees will need to be paid up front by the executors when applying which could mean that many people need to revert to loans to cover the fees involved.
Michael Prendergast of Dickinson Parker Hill said, ‘The fees proposed are effectively a stealth tax and totally disproportionate to the work involved. There is very little difference in the work involved for the local probate registry when dealing with an application for an estate worth £50,000 compared to one worth £2 million. It is very hard to see how this level of fee increase can be justified and any tax, which is effectively what this is, needs to be approved by Parliament rather than being packaged as a fee increase. I would urge our local MP to raise this issue with the Government.’
It is estimated that 56,000 families across the country will pay between £2,500 to £6,000 under the new fee structure with the Government expected to bring in a further £185 million per year in revenue.
When previous changes were proposed, the Government was warned by The Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments that the changes would likely be considered a tax rather than a fee for the service provided and, therefore, would be unlawful without a vote in Parliament. It remains to be seen whether the Government will push ahead with the proposed new fees.
If you would like to put in place a will or would like further information please call Dickinson Parker Hill Solicitors on 01695 574 201 or visit their offices at 22 Derby Street, Ormskirk, Lancashire, L39 2BZ.