Probate fee raise dropped by UK government

Rebecca Parr

Following the announcement that we will be having a snap election in June, it has been confirmed that the government has dropped plans to increase probate fees. 

The sharp increase in fees was a controversial scheme from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) which sought to raise £300 million a year from fees by creating charges of up to £20,000 for large estates. Probate is simply the process taken to deal with the estate – property, money and possessions – of someone who had died. One would apply for probate once the estate has been identified and valued, the fee is then paid to the Probate Registry who handles the valuations etc.

The MoJ has now confirmed now confirmed that that the relevant statutory instrument (SI) – a type of legislation allowing parliamentary acts to be made or altered without the vote of MP’s – could not be finished before the general election.

It isn’t known whether this policy will ever go ahead, as it is now up to the next elected government to decide whether to pick it up or not. And even if Theresa May and the Conservatives are re-elected, it could be dropped altogether.

The proposed fees would have affected anyone looking to settle a larger estate. While there would have been little or no fees for properties valued at £50,000 or less, larger estates worth over £2m would have incurred fees of up to £20,000.

The proposed fees would have replaced the flat rate of £215 that was given to an individual’s application.

It was believed that the level of opposition to the increases in fees was too high to consider reintroducing the policy post-election, leading to further speculation that it will be scrapped. However, no decision will be made until the dust has settled on the June election and if it wasn’t to go ahead, the MoJ will then have to find a new way of generating the additional £300m.

At Samuels Solicitors we have many years of experience in dealing with litigation practise with an excellent reputation for our private client and property services, including boundary disputes and libel claims.

The private client side of our business covers the likes of wills and probate, from the administration of estates to making a will and even the estate and tax planning. We understand how difficult this situation is for loved ones during a time of grief, but you can contact us for free for a discussion with a solicitor about the process.