An update on the proposed probate fee rise

The Government had planned to increase the probate fees in May 2017 but scrapped the plan in April 2017 ahead of the general election. The current fee to apply for a grant of probate is £155 if applying through a solicitor or £215 for personal applications. The fee is paid when you send off your application for a grant of probate to the Probate Registry. There is currently no fee payable for estates up to £5,000 and this would have been increased to £50,000 if the new plans went ahead.

The proposed probate fees would have seen a change from a flat fee to banded fees based on the value of the estate. The probate fee for estates worth more than £2 million before inheritance tax would have been £20,000 which is quite clearly a significant increase.

Before the probate fee changes were axed, there was question surrounding whether the probate fee changes were legal and whether they were more akin to taxes as opposed to fees. The joint committee on statutory instruments questioned whether the Ministry of Justice had the authority to push through the changes. The probate fees were expected to raise approximately £300 million per year to fund the courts and tribunals service.

At this stage it is unclear whether or not the scheme will be brought back or abandoned but for now, the probate fees remain unchanged.

At Emery Johnson Astills, we have a specialist Wills and Probate Department that can offer you a personal service and sensitive, professional guidance. Should you require any advice in respect of dealing with the estate of somebody close, or drafting your Will, please do not hesitate to contact Emery Johnson Astills on 0116 2554855.