Potential Probate Fee Increase
16 July 2021 by James Bird
Once again the government has announced that they are intending to increase the fees charged for obtaining the Grant of Probate to administer estates.
The Grant of Probate is a legal document issued in most circumstances when someone has died and their affairs need to be dealt with. Usually a Grant of Probate will be required where there is property in the estate or there are accounts with large sums at a bank in the deceased’s sole name. The Grant of Probate confirms who is legally entitled to deal with the deceased’s affairs.
Currently when you apply for the Grant of Probate, the court fee is either £215 (for members of the public) or £155 (for professionals dealing with the estate).
The latest proposals have put forward that these fees will increase to £273. This would be a flat rate fee (ie everyone pays this sum) regardless of who is applying or what the size of the estate is.
Compared to the previous probate fees proposed back in 2019 which suggested a tiered system of fees based on the value of the estate, this proposal does seem more reasonable. In the previously scrapped proposals, there were suggestions of the largest estates having to pay a court fee of thousands of pounds for the Grant of Probate. Many deemed it to be a stealth tax on dying.
The Probate Registry has struggled to cope with the number of applications which have been made since the start of the pandemic. Back in 2019 applications would usually take about 2-3 weeks to be issued. Now however the same applications are much more likely to take 2-3 months to be issued which has caused huge problems when dealing with estates (especially those that involve property sales).
Hopefully if they do increase the fees to £273 this will enable them to more efficiently deal with applications but we can only wait and see.
Once anything has been confirmed we will let you know but if you have any questions about a Grant of Probate or administration of an estate then please do get in touch with our Wills, Life Planning and Probate team on 01206 700113 or by email at [email protected]
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