It was only 2017 when the government last proposed, and then abandoned, a massive increase for probate fees. These fees are separate and additional to inheritance tax.
The proposals are now back; albeit in a slightly different form.
Set to be introduced in April 2019, the Secretary of State for Justice, Lucy Frazer, has declared that the new banded probate fee model represents a fair and more progressive way to pay for probate services’.
The current probate fee is a flat rate of £215 (or £155 where a solicitor is making the application) regardless of the size of the estate. The new model could increase this figure by 2690.7%.
The table below shows the new model.
Value of estate (before inheritance tax) Proposed Fee
Up to £50,000 or exempt from requiring a grant of probate £0
£50,000 – £300,000 £250
£300,000 – £500,000 £750
£500,000 – £1m £2,500
£1m – £1.6m £4,000
£1.6m – £2m £5,000
Above £2m £6,000
SOSFT Lucy Frazer has emphasised that the reform will now increase the threshold for excluded estates from 15,000 to £50,000 however this affects only 25,000 estates per annum, which is less than 10% of the total number of applications for probate.
The reforms have already come under scrutiny with people questioning why these fees bear no relation to the actual cost of the service provided and have been described by STEP CEO as ‘another form of taxation, sneaked in through the back door.’
The main piece of advice to take from this news is that if you are an executor dealing with the administration of an estate, make sure you apply for Probate before April 2019!
For more information, contact Senior Associate, Amanda Bailey using the contact form below.