The Government has recently announced the proposal for Probate Court fees to rise in May 2017. Currently set at a fixed fee of £155 (if applying through a Solicitor) and £215 if making a personal application, the fees will now be increased dependent on the value of a person’s estate.
The proposed fees are:-
Estate up to £50,000 or exempt from requiring a grant of probate £0
Estate from £50,000, up to £300,000 £300
Estate from £300,000, up to £500,000 £1,000
Estate from £500,000, up to £1m £4,000
Estate from £1m, up to £1.6m £8,000
Estate from £1.6m, up to £2m £12,000
Estate over £2m £20,000
The Government argue that this will be a fairer system, and is a necessary step in maintaining the justice system.
There are many unanswered questions about these proposals, including the start date, which could be as early as 1st May. There is also the question of how the fee will be paid for, when the main asset in a person’s estate is their Property or land.
The probate fee will apply even to estates where no Inheritance Tax is payable, such as when a spouse or civil partner, or a charity, is inheriting. This could lead people to start giving away their assets during their lifetime, in order to avoid the need for probate upon their death.
Despite the majority of respondents objecting to the proposals, the Government appears to be proceeding with the increases regardless.
If you would like to know more about these proposed changes, or if you would like to discuss any matters about Wills or Probate then please do not hesitate to contact Lisa Moore who is a partner within the department on firstname.lastname@example.org