There have been discussions for several years now that the standard fee for Probate applications (currently £155 for solicitors and £215 for individuals) is going to be radically altered. It has been proposed that the fee should be amended on a sliding scale so that the higher the value of the Estate, the higher the fee. This is despite strong opposition from practitioners on the basis that the fees are essentially a tax by another name that, therefore, the correct procedure has not been used by the Government.
It was originally thought the new fees would come in in April 2019, but due to Brexit and other issues taking up Parliamentary time, this hasn’t happened yet. So when will the new fees come into force?
When will the new fees come into force?
The Non-Contentious Probate Fees Order 2018 (Fees Order) is subject to an approval motion in the House of Commons, after which the order will be made. The new fee system will be implemented 21 days after the order is made.
As the approval motion has not yet taken place, the proposed fee structure could not be implemented by 1 April as originally planned. On 23 May, the House of Commons closed for its summer recess. The Fees Order may have to wait until Autumn 2019 before it returns to the agenda in parliament.
What is the new fee structure?
The fee that you pay will depend on the value of the estate that passes under the grant of probate. It has been said that no fee will ever amount to more than 0.5% of the estate’s value.
|Value of estate (before inheritance tax)
|Up to £50,000 or exempt from requiring a grant of probate
|£50,000 – £300,000
|£300,000 – £500,000
|£500,000 – £1m
|£1m – £1.6m
|£1.6m – £2m
When will the new fees be implemented – at date of death or date of application?
The new fees will apply to all applications received by the Probate Service on or after the implementation date of the new fees, irrespective of the date of death. Any full application received within working hours of the Probate Registry before the implementation date will be charged the current fee.
The exact date of implementation remains subject to the approval of the necessary legislation by Parliament, but will be confirmed in due course.
If you would like assistance in applying for Grants of Probate or Grants of Administration, please contact Georgina Roberts or Peter Marsh in our Heswall Office on 0151 342 1831 or Jane Hogg in our Liverpool Office on 0151 236 7171.