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Imminent Rise in Probate Fees

20 March

Imminent Rise in Probate Fees

The Government has undertaken a controversial consultation on Probate Fees where the vast majority of the respondents considered that the changes should not go ahead. The Government’s response has been “after careful consideration” the price rises will go ahead; these are now set to come into effect in May, although Estates under £50,000 will now not need to pay a fee, the starting fee for Estates above this value will be nearly double the current fee of £300. Estates worth more than £300,000 will pay a fee of £1,000 rising to a staggering £20,000.00 fee for high net worth Estates. Essentially the fee is for the administrative process of checking a Will and the details of an Estate, and issuing the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration - a single-page document which costs about £166 for the actual work involved in producing it.

You have no choice if you are an Executor of a Will with an Estate of value which includes non-cash assets - you must have a Grant and you must pay the fee. If the Estate is of a particular value it will also be subject to Inheritance Tax.

There seems to be no justification for this ‘death tax’ which was hidden amongst the detail of the last budget, but it is included in the Government’s general tax figures so that the money paid will not even go towards paying the costs of running the Court service, instead being allocated to the general Treasury. If anyone is currently dealing with a sizeable Estate it is advisable try to get the application in before the increase comes in, but in the meantime more than 10,000 people have signed the parliamentary petition demanding a change to this new tax, so the Government must now respond. What we really need here is for the matter to be debated in Parliament which requires over 100,000 signatures on the petition; you can sign the petition here: https://petition.parliament.uk...  and please, please share it via social media, and amongst friends and family – apathy could end up costing your loved ones dear.