In November, the Government announced it would be raising the fee bereaved families pay in Probate Fees upon the death of a relative.

Currently, most estates are subject to a flat rate fee of £155 for the issue of a Grant of Probate if you are using a solicitor (£215 if you are applying in person).

In April 2019, this flat-rate fee will be replaced by a sliding scale of fees linked to the total value of an estate. The bandings will be as follows:

Value of Estate              Probate Fee from April 2019

£0-50,000                       £0
£50,001 – £300,000        £250
£300,001 – £500,000      £750
£500,001 – £1M              £2,500
£1M – £1.6M                   £4,000
£1.6M – £2M                   £5,000
£2M +                             £6,000

The Justice Minister, Lucy Frazer MP, has justified the increase as a way of contributing to the running of the Courts and Tribunals Service. She also claimed that 25,000 estates will be exempt from a fee, whilst 80% of estates would pay no more than £750. “This new banded fee model represents a fair and more progressive way to pay for probate services compared to the current flat fee, and reflects our commitment to protecting access to justice by ensuring we have a properly funded and resourced courts system,” Ms Frazer said.

Probate lawyers have correctly argued that there is little difference in the amount of work involved in applying for a Grant in estates of different value, and that the fee rises are effectively a death tax on high-value homes, which usually makes up the majority of an estate. The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners said 85% of estates would have been liable for higher fees, based on 2014-5 figures.

If you have concerns about this, or any other probate issue, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Gary De’Ath or by calling 01284 763333.

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