MASSIVE Increases in Probate Court Fees Coming
Currently there is a flat fee of £155 payable when applying for a grant of probate.
From May 2017 the fee when applying for probate will depend on the value of the deceased person's estate. This will mean a huge hike in fees for many estates.
The new fee structure will be as follows:
- If the value of the estate does not exceed £50,000 there will be no fee.
- If the value of the estate is between £50,000 and £300,000 the fee will be £300.
- If the value of the estate is between £300,000 and £500,000 the fee will be £1,000.
- If the value of the estate is between £500,000 and £1m the fee will be £4,000.
- If the value of the estate is between £1m and £1.6m the fee will be £8,000.
- If the value of the estate is between £1.6m and £2m the fee will be £12,000.
- If the value of the estate exceeds £2m the fee will be a whopping £20,000 (a percentage increase of 12,803% on the current fee).
Where an estate is 'asset rich but cash poor' (with a property but no cash in the bank for example), executors would have to pay inheritance tax and find the probate fees before a property could be sold. Executors could therefore face having to take out personal loans to cover probate fees.
Many practitioners feel the increased probate fees are an additional form of taxation - is this fair where an estate has already paid inheritance tax?
Abbie Kingdon, senior private client solicitor at Samuels, says: "The scale of the probate fee increase is truly staggering, particularly when you consider that the work done by the Probate Office is exactly the same, regardless of the value of the estate. This will almost certainly cause delays to the administration of estates if executors have to borrow money to pay these fees, adding to the distress of recently bereaved families."
If you are dealing with the estate of someone who has recently died, do not delay in applying for the grant of probate, to avoid paying these much higher fees.