Probate fees are increasing significantly – what do you need to know?

By November 7, 2018Legal Updates

What is probate and when would I need it?

When somebody dies, sometimes it is necessary for you to apply for a grant of representation to be able to deal with the deceased’s assets – this is known as applying for probate.

Whether probate is required depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The type of asset – property and shares for example will normally always require probate.
  • How the asset is held – jointly owned property usually passes without the need for probate.
  • The value of the assets – certain institutions will release monies if the amount does not exceed their specific threshold.

What are the current fees for applying for probate?

There is currently a flat fee for applying for probate of £215 for a personal application, and £155 if you apply through a solicitor.

What are the new fees?

The government have announced that the probate fees in England & Wales will soon change to a banded system, where the fees increase depending on the value of the estate.  This change was originally put forward in April 2017 but abandoned shortly before the 2017 General Election.  It has now been revived by the Government but the proposed increase in fees is not as large as previously planned.

The new fee structure is set out as follows:

Value of estate New fee

Up to £50,000

£0
£50,001 – £300,000 £250
£300,001 – £500,000 £750
£500,001 – £1,000,000 £2,500
£1,000,001 – £1,600,000 £4,000
£1,600,001 – £2,000,000 £5,000
£2,000,001 or more

£6,000

What is included in the ‘value of the estate’ for the new probate fee structure?

The value of the estate in this instance is the ‘net value’ of the estate, which means the value after deducting liabilities or debts.

In this case, the ‘net value’ is only relevant for assets which require a grant of representation, and therefore certain assets will not be included in this valuation, such as some jointly owned assets.

When do the new fees come into effect?

The commencement date has yet to be announced, all we know at the moment is that the new fees will apply to any applications received on or after the implementation date, irrespective of the date of death.

 Further information

There has not been a great deal of information published for the public regarding the increase in probate fees.  You can review the draft regulations here .

If you have any questions or would like advice on probate or Wills, please contact our Wills, Probate and Trusts teams at our Petersfield (01730 268211) and Midhurst (01730 816711) offices.