Increase in Probate Fees May 2017
The Government has published its response to the consultation on increasing probate fees. Despite overwhelming opposition from lawyers, charities and private client advisors the new fee structure will be introduced in May 2017 following Parliament’s approval.
The consultation proposed the following:
- introducing a banding structure where the fees increase in line with the value of the estate, up to a maximum of £20,000
- raising the threshold below which no fee is payable from £5,000 to £50,000
- removing probate fees from the statutory help with fees remissions scheme
Currently there is a standard fee of £215 for personal applications and £155 for solicitor applications. This structure is to be abolished with fees set on a sliding scale based on the gross value of the deceased’s estate.
|Net Value of estate before Inheritance Tax||Proportion of estates in England and Wales||Probate fee|
|Up to £50,000 or exempt
|More than £50,000 but less than £300,000
|More than £300,000 but less than £500,000
|More than £500,000 but less than £1,000,000
|More than £1,000,000 but less than £1,600,000
|More than £1,600,000 but less than £2,000,000
|More than £2,000,000
The probate fee must be paid when an application for Probate is made. It does not depend on the date of death.
The Government anticipates the probate fee to be paid by the executors by way of a loan (either commercially or via a beneficiary) or through the release of the deceased’s assets in much the same way as Inheritance Tax is paid. In “exceptional circumstances” the Probate Registry will issue a limited Grant where the executors have been unable to pay the probate fee. The Grant will enable assets to be encashed to pay the fee.