Government Announces Increase in Probate Court Fees
12 February 2019 by Susanne Grimwade
The Government has announced changes to Probate Court fees which means some will pay almost £6,000 for the wealthiest estates valued at more than £2m.
Under the current regime, there is a flat fee of £155 payable for those applying for a Grant of Probate through a Solicitor regardless of the size of the estate. For estates valued at under £50,000, no Probate charges will be levied. Under the earlier regime estates under £5,000 were exempt.
The table below shows how the new fees will be applied effective from April this year.
|Size of Estate||Probate Court Fee|
|Less than £50,000||£0|
|£50,000 to £300,000||£250|
|£300,000 to £500,000||£750|
|£500,000 to £1,000,000||£2,500|
|£1,000,000 to £1,600,000||£4,000|
|£1,600,000 to £2,000,000||£5,000|
|More than £2,000,000||£6,000|
There has been a large backlash over the plans to increase the Probate Court fees from the Law Society President Christina Blacklaws who confirmed “The costs to the Courts for granting Probate does not change whether the estate is worth £50,000 or £2,000,000. Under the new proposals, some estates would face a charge of £6,000. This is excessive, particularly when the current fee of £215, or £155 if done by a Solicitor. It is unfair to expect the bereaved to fund other parts of the Courts and Tribunal Service, particularly in circumstances where they have no other options but to use this Probate service.”
Many critics believe the increase by the government is an additional stealth tax, however, the Ministry of Justice insist the fee increase will help plug a shortfall of £1.6 billion in the cost of running the courts service. Whatever the justification for the increase in fees it has no doubt raised eyebrows amongst the vast majority of the legal profession.
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