November 2018 - New Probate Fees

What is probate, and when is it required?

When someone dies, a Grant of Representation often needs to be obtained by the person entitled in the Will or by law, in order to provide the necessary legal authority to deal with the deceased’s assets and liabilities.

There are some circumstances where a Grant may not be required, for example where the assets are jointly held and pass automatically to the surviving owner, or worth less than £15,000 in total. However in most cases, a Grant will be required and an application for Probate must be made.

What are the fees?

There has previously been a flat fee of £215 (for personal applications) or £155 (for solicitor applications) for all estates regardless of the value. There are additional fees of 0.50p per sealed copy obtained, but it is unclear whether or not these fees will be retained.

A new banded system of fees based on the value of an estate was first suggested by the government in February 2017. There was significant opposition to these fees, which ranged from £0 for estates worth up to £50,000, to £20,000 for estates over £2 million. These changes were abandoned by the Ministry of Justice, as there was insufficient time to implement them before the 2017 General Election.

A revised banded system was announced in the November budget, and has now come into force with effect from 27th November 2018. These fees are lower than those set out in the 2017 proposal and are as follows:

  • Estate value of up to £5,000 - new fee £0 - changed by 0% from previous regime
  • Estate value between £5,000 - £50,000 - new fee £0 - changed by -100% from previous regime
  • Estate value between £50,001 - £300,000- new fee £250 - changed by 16% from previous regime
  • Estate value between £300,001 - £500,000- new fee £750 - changed by 249% from previous regime
  • Estate value between £500,001 - £1 million- new fee £2,500 - changed by 1,063% from previous regime
  • Estate value between £1 million - £1.6m- new fee £4,000 - changed by 1760% from previous regime
  • Estate value between £1.6m - £2 million- new fee £5,000 - changed by 2,226% from previous regime
  • Estate value over £2 million- new fee £6,000 - changed by 2,691% from previous regime

*The values of the estate are net but before inheritance tax has been deducted.

The changes have today been implemented by Statutory Instrument and with such speed that there has been very little opportunity to mitigate the impact on estates that have not yet obtained probate.

Nicknamed a “Stealth Tax” the increased fees continue to raise controversy amongst legal professionals and consumers alike. Despite this, Lucy Frazer, junior Justice Minister, has confirmed that all money raised from the increased fees will be used to fund the courts and tribunals service.

We still await the government’s official document of guidance on these fees (‘Guidance on Ways to Pay for Probate Fees’) and how they might be funded in estates with limited cash assets.

For further information, or assistance with your own probate application, please contact a member of the Private Client team:

Natasha Southam

Chris O'Callaghan

Share this article

Submit to FacebookSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

City office

Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP
326 Old Street
London EC1V 9DR
DX: 137773 Finsbury 5

Telephone
020 7613 1402

Fax
020 7613 2711  

 

West End office

Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP
77A Baker Street
London W1U 6RF
DX: 42722 Oxford Circus North

Telephone
020 7467 5757

Fax
020 7467 5758

Manchester office

Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP
111 Piccadilly
Manchester M1 2HY

DX: 6967003 Manchester 94 M

Telephone
0161 694 4404

Fax
0161 638 0930

Istanbul Office

Ronald Fletcher Baker Danismanlik Hizmetleri Avukatlik Ortakligi
Tesvikiye Cadessi
No: 28 Alhambra Apartmani
K:2
Nisantasi, İstanbul

Telephone
07736 364222

Emergency number

07538 490647

Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Company number OC345891

City office ID 512598
West End office ID 523362.
Manchester office ID 630156

V.A.T. registration number: 2206798 63VAT

"Partner" denotes a senior member of the LLP or an employee with the equivalent standing.

PII cover - QBE Insurance (Europe) Limited. For further details please contact Rakeebah Rahim

http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/handbook/welcome.page

Website design by coolgrey

Photography: Camilla Greenwell

 

Get a free conveyancing quote

 

View our privacy policy

We encourage you to contact us in the first instance if you are unhappy with the service you receive from us. Contact John O’Callaghan, the complaints partner at j.ocallaghan@rfblegal.co.uk; alternatively in some circumstances you may be able to make use of the ODR platform.