Probate fee increase

Laura Wilson of Cartmell Shepherd, an award-winning solicitors based around Cumbria have recently released an article related to forthcoming changes to probate fees.

As Laura Wilson explains

“Following the death of an individual, in some circumstances it is necessary for the Personal Representatives (the people responsible for dealing with the Estate) to apply to the Court for a document known as a Grant of Probate (GoP) to allow them to obtain the deceased’s assets.

Currently, the Court fee for obtaining the GoP is set at £155 if applying through a Solicitor or £215 for personal applications, regardless of the value of the deceased’s Estate. From April 2019 (an exact date is to be confirmed), a sliding scale fee structure is expected to be introduced with the fee in some cases increasing by almost 39 times as much. The fee proposals are as follows:-

Value of Estate (before Inheritance Tax & exemptions)
Proposed fee
Up to £50,000 / GoP not required
£50,000 – £300,000
£300,000 – £500.000
£500,000 – £1 million
£1 million – £1.6 million
£1.6 million – £2 million
Over £2 million

The fee will apply to the total value of the Estate, prior to the payment of Inheritance Tax if applicable and before the deduction of any Inheritance Tax allowances or reliefs; such as the spousal exemption, charitable gifts and some farming / business assets.

Currently, only Estates up to £5,000 are exempt from paying a Probate fee. Therefore, Estates between the value of £5,000 – £50,000 will benefit from the proposals.

In some cases, the Personal Representatives may not be able to access any of the deceased’s funds until the GoP is issued. This may cause difficulties for Personal Representatives in paying the Probate fee upfront. However, is it expected that Banks and Financial Institutions will put procedures in place to allow the cost of the Probate fee to be released from the deceased’s account prior to closure. Similar processes already exist in relation to the payment of Inheritance Tax.

A House of Commons Committee recently voted in favour of the legislation. The next stage is for the Order to go to the House of Commons for approval. A date has not yet been announced.

If you would like to contact your local MP to lodge your objections to the fee rises, you can do so quickly and easily using the following link provided by the Law Society. ”

If you would like any advice or assistance in dealing with an Estate, please contact Cartmell Shepherd on 01228 514077 and ask to speak to a member of their Private Client Department.