The fee payable to the Probate Registry when applying for a Grant of Probate when someone has passed away is currently £215 for a personal application or £155 where a solicitor is applying.
On the 27th February 2017, the HM Court & Tribunals Service announced that these fees are going to increase exponentially from May 2017.
The fee will be calculated on the basis of the net value of the estate, but will not take into account any reliefs, such as those available to business owners and farmers.
Estates worth under £50,000 will be exempt from the fee but those worth over £300,000 will face a fee of £1,000 to £20,000.
This will be a particular issue for those whose assets who are tied up fixed assets. For example, a farmer or business owner who passes away with agricultural property or private company shares worth £2 million or more would be exempt from inheritance tax but as of May 2017, the executors would need to find £20,000 in order to obtain the Grant of Probate.
There are a number of possible solutions to this, such as lifetime giving and holding property as joint tenants, but these can present other consequences which need to be balanced against the benefits of saving the Court fee.
Contact Trusts & Estates Associate, Amanda Bailey on 01244 345805 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, no obligation review of your wills and affairs to see how this change may affect you and the options available.