Dealing with the death of a loved one can be a difficult time. For those people appointed to act as Executors, the task they have ahead can also sometimes be complicated. In many estates one of the responsibilities of an Executor is to obtain the Grant of Probate from the Probate Registry. This is also referred to as a Grant of Representation and is the document required to collect in certain assets, such as bank accounts, sell or transfer shares and deal with property.
You may remember the proposal for a sharp increase in probate fees increase in 2017, which was dropped in April 2017 ahead of the general election, raising the possibility that the proposals could be scrapped altogether.
On 5th November the government confirmed that they have revived the plans, and intend to implement these from April 2019.
Currently individuals pay a court fee of £215, or £155 if they apply through a solicitor to obtain the Grant of Probate on estates over £5,000. The threshold at which probate fees are levied is set to be lifted to £50,000 from April 2019. In addition, for estates over this amount, the initial court fee for a Grant of Probate will be raised whether or not applying as an individual or with the help of a solicitor.
The new fees will depend on the amount the estate is worth, and it is proposed they will be as follows:
Estates worth from £50,000 up to £300,000 will pay £250
Estates worth from £300,000 up to £500,000 will pay £750
Estates worth from £500,000 up to £1 million will pay £2,500
Estates worth from £1 million up to £1.6 million will pay £4,000
Estates worth from £1.6 million up to £2 million will pay £5,000
Estates worth more than £2 million will pay £6,000
As in 2017 concerns have arisen about how the probate fee will be funded, and there may well be benefits to clients in changing the structure of how they hold their assets in advance to deal with this issue. Again, the fee increase is expected to result in a surge of applications for Probate as we get closer to April 2019.
If you require any advice about this, or how it may affect you or your family, then please do not hesitate to contact a member our Private Client team who would be happy to discuss this in more detail with you and provide you with advice tailored to your own personal circumstances.