Probate Fees set to increase from April

Probate Fees set to increase from April

08 Feb 2019
It has been announced that the Government’s controversial plans to raise the fee payable on an application for Probate have been approved.
What is Probate?
A Grant of Probate is applied for after somebody has died, to prove that their Will is the true and original Will and to affirm the ability of the Executors named in the Will to administer the estate (for example, to access a bank account belonging to the deceased, or to sell a house in the name of the deceased). 
If somebody dies without a Will, a Grant of Letters of Administration is obtained, but the procedure is still generally referred to as ‘Probate’. 

A fee is payable when an application is made for Probate. 

What is the fee now?
As of now, the fee is £155.00 if the application is made by a solicitor. If it is made by the Executor or Administrator personally, the fee is £215.00. 

Estates worth under £5,000 do not pay any fee. 

What is the proposed new fee?
For applications made from April 2019 onwards, it is proposed that the fee will be banded, according to the value of the estate. 
Value of Estate Proposed New Fee
£0 - £50,000 £0.00
£50,000 - £300,000 £250.00
£300,000 - £500,000 £750.00
£500,000 - £1,000,000 £2,500.00
£1,000,000- £1,600,000 £4,000.00
£1,600,000 - £2,000,000 £5,000.00
£2,000,000 & Up £6,000.00
When does this come in?
It is proposed to apply for all applications made on or after April 2019, regardless of the date on which the individual died.

Is it definite?
The Government announced similar plans last year, but these were roundly condemned by the legal profession as unfair and unworkable and were quietly dropped when the General Election was called. The current proposals do represent a smaller increase in fees than those proposed last year, but many of the same objections remain unanswered. 

It is possible that an application for Judicial Review of the proposals might be made in the near future, as some senior lawyers consider that the proposals to amount to a tax on the bereaved. However, the Government have made clear that they consider the proposals to be lawful, affordable and necessary in order to support the Justice System as a whole. 

What can I do?
If you are dealing with the estate of a friend or family member who has died, act now and make your application for Probate as soon as you can to avoid the increased fees. 

Here at Hartlaw, our friendly and experienced lawyers can guide you through this often-misunderstood process and help you to get your application in before the fee increase. To do this call our Private Client department today on 01937 547018.