Probate fees to increase under new charging structure

Government plans huge rises in probate fees charged after death

Probate fees to increase under a new system could see some pay £20,000 when left estates worth more than £2m by a deceased relative. The government is planning huge rises in the probate fees charged when an individual dies and leaves property to their relatives in a bid to raise an additional £250m a year.

The flat £215 fee will be replaced with a new system of tiered charges that would result in some paying as much as £20,000 for estates worth more than £2m.

For estates worth between £500,000 and £1m the new fee will be £4,000, rising to £8,000 for those worth between £1m and £1.6m, and £12,000 for those valued at between £1.6m and £2m.

Given the sharp rise in the value of property in many parts of the UK in recent years, many families could find themselves hit by the higher charges after a loved one passes away.

Obtaining a grant of probate is the process by which someone is given the authority to deal with the property, money and possessions of a person after they die.

It is usually sought by the executor of a will or a person acting on their behalf. Not all estates need to go through probate, with around half of deaths leading to an application for a grant of probate in England and Wales.

The Ministry of Justice said the measures would also mean that estates worth less than £50,000 – 57% of the total – would pay no fees, while a further 27% would incur a “modest” increase of £85 to £300.

The changes are part of a drive to reduce the cost of running courts and tribunals to taxpayers.

Justice minister Shailesh Vara said court fees were never popular, but that the maximum £20,000 fee would “only be paid by the very wealthiest estates”, while charges would never be more than 1% of its total value.

He said 84% of estates would incur fees of £300 or nothing, and 94% would pay £1,000 or less.

Read the Full Article by Chris Johnston  at the Guardian website


Enjoyed this? Read more posts by Final Duties about Probate News

Saga Probate and Legal Services in choppy waters?

Poor people can’t afford to die