Dealing with the death of a loved one can be an emotionally 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 assets, such as bank accounts, sell or transfer shares and deal with property.  Currently the Court Fee for the Grant of Probate is £155 through a Solicitor and £215 for a personal application, unless the estate is under £5,000 in value.

It has emerged that the Government are pressing ahead with their plans to drastically increase the fee. The table below shows how the fees proposed will be on a sliding scale depending upon the value of the estate for Probate.  The most drastic increase is the increase from £155 to £20,000 in estates with a value of £2million or over.  This will apply whether or not there is any inheritance tax due, and even if everything is simply left to the surviving spouse absolutely.

Value of Estate Current Fee Proposed Fee
Under £5,000 £0 £0
£5,000 to £50,000 £155

 

 

 

 

£0
£50,000 to £300,000 £300
£300,000 to £500,000 £1,000
£500,000 to £1m £4,000
£1m to £1.6m £8,000
£1.6m to £2m £12,000
£2m + £20,000

The government received 853 responses to their initial consultation on this matter from law firms, the senior Judiciary and the public.  Many people have expressed how unfair the new fees would be, considering that the same amount of work for the Probate Registry is involved in a low value estate as a high value estate. Many others commented that this proposal is akin to a “new tax”, and there are questions about how this will be funded, particularly for estates containing land and buildings but no cash.

The fee increase is expected to result in a surge of applications over the next few weeks as people try and obtain Grant of Probate before the implementation.

If you require any advice about this, or how it may affect you or your family, then please do not hesitate to contact our Private Client team either in Lancaster on 01524 846846 or in Kirkby Lonsdale on 015242 71388.

By Bethany Wood, Trainee Legal Executive