Increase in Probate Fees postponed

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted on Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

Ahead of the General Election on 8th June, the government postponed plans for a sharp rise in probate fees. Obtaining a grant of probate is the process by which someone is given authority to deal with the property, money and possessions of a person after they die. It is usually applied for by the executor of a Will or someone acting on their behalf.

Currently, probate is free if the deceased’s estate is valued at less than £5,000. For estates above that figure, a grant of probate costs £155 if you use a solicitor, or £215 if you apply yourself.

 

What the changes would have meant

Prior to the calling of the General election, probate fees were set to rise sharply this May. The proposal was for the introduction of a new fee structure based on the size of the estate. Whilst estates under £50,000 would be free, at the other of the scale a £2m estate would be charged as much as £20,000. On an estate valued at £300,000 the fees would be £300.

Shailesh Vara, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Justice was quite open about the aim of the exercise, saying that it would raise revenue of around £250m, which had been earmarked to reduce the £1.1bn net annual cost of running the court system.

The proposals had attracted criticism from MPs, peers and the media. It will now be up to the government to decide whether the plans should go ahead, and if so, in what form.

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