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Author: Douglas-Jones Mercer
Date: 06 February 2019
FEE INCREASES FOR GRANT OF PROBATE APPLICATIONS ANNOUNCED BY GOVERNMENT
The Government are again pushing ahead with their plans to significantly increase probate application fees which will be calculated according to the value of the assets left by an individual when they pass away. This could result in the beneficiaries of some deceased estates paying almost £6,000 more than the current probate fee.
Whilst the increase in probate fees has been proposed by Government Ministers for some time, the matter was shelved prior to the last General Election amid criticism that the increase would effectively be an additional “death tax”.
Currently, those who apply for a Grant of Probate pay a one off fee of £155 if they instruct a solicitor to make the application on their behalf. The fee increases to £215 if an application is made by someone in person without the assistance of a solicitor.
Under the new proposals, estates valued at more than £2m will now pay a probate fee of £6,000 while those worth between £1.6m and £2m will pay a probate fee of £5,000 and those between £1m and £1.6m will pay a fee of £4,000.
For estates worth between £500,000 to £1m the probate fee payable will be £2,500 and for estates valued between £50,000 to £300,000 the probate fee will be £250. Estates valued at less than £50,000 will not incur a probate fee.
Many have argued that the increase in probate fees, calculated based on the value of the deceased’s estate, are unmerited given that there is little difference in the amount of work involved in administering estates of different values.
The new fee system is likely to be introduced as of April 2019 and so we would recommend that those who are currently administering deceased estates attempt to submit their applications to the probate registry as soon as possible. We would be happy to assist in making those applications and should you require assistance we ask that you please contact the Private Client Department on 01792 650000.
It may also be beneficial for individuals to speak to our Private Client Department regarding lifetime planning which may assist in reducing the probate fee payable upon the individual’s subsequent death. Advice regarding lifetime planning may also assist in mitigating an individual’s inheritance tax liability.
Estates & Trusts Department - Published 6th February 2019
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