Big changes to probate fees are due this April

Posted Jan 29, 2019.
The government has announced that a new range of probate fees are to be introduced this April, in a move that is likely to represent a significant increase compared with the current fee structure for a typical probate process.

Probate refers to the process of administering an individual’s estate when they die. If a person s dies owning significant assets, a formal grant must be obtained from a court to enable their estate to be collected in and divided between their beneficiaries.  At present, a fee is paid when applying for probate and is currently fixed at £155 if the application is via a solicitor, or £215 should a solicitor not be involved. For smaller estates worth less than £5,000, there is currently no fee. 

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has confirmed that the new probate fee structure will be fixed at no more than 0.5% of the total value of the deceased’s estate. Whilst on the surface this may seem like a reasonable percentage to charge, because many estates in England and Wales feature property (or properties) as a significant part of their value, based on current house prices the actual fee to be deducted could be significantly higher. For example, a fee of 0.5% on a £400,000 estate would be £2,000, a significant increase over the current fixed fee of £155 or £215. There will also be a maximum fee payable of £6,000 for estates worth in excess of £2m, and there will also be a new fee exempt threshold for estates valued at up to £50,000, a change which the MOJ claim will mean that around 25,000 estates per year will become free of fees. 

If you would like expert but friendly advice on the probate process, or indeed any aspect of preparing a Will or a Lasting Power of Attorney,  please contact Simon, our Estate Planning Manager, on (01252) 744637 or email now to simon.speed@bakerssolicitors.com.