The Ministry of Justice is planning to increase Probate fees from 1 May 2017, despite overwhelming objections from the legal community. The current application fee is £155 for applications made through a Solicitor and £215 for personal applicants.

 

The fees, based on the value of the estate rather than the work to be undertaken by the Probate Registry, are intended as follows:

    • £300 for estates worth more than £50,000 and up to £300,000
    • £1,000 for estates worth more than £300,000 and up to £500,000
    • £4,000 for estates worth more than £500,000 and up to £1 million
    • £8,000 for estates worth more than £1m and up to £1.6 million
    • £12,000 for estates worth more than £1.6m and up to £2 million
    • £20,000 for estates worth more than £2 million
    • Estates worth below £50,000 will not be required to pay a fee.

Claire Davis, Director, SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly) said:

“SFE is extremely disappointed to see that the consensus to reject the proposed probate fees has been ignored.

“For the 62% of estates that use a solicitor, probate registry performs a purely administrative role, and the value of the estate has no bearing on the work undertaken.

“To burden larger estates with a significantly larger fee is an unfair form of taxation. For people in this situation, their property is often their primary asset, and they have little cash to pay for higher probate fees, on top of other necessities such as IHT (Inheritance Tax) or the use of a solicitor.

“The increase in probate fees will place a burden on families at a sensitive and distressing time and is likely to put people who are vulnerable and/or elderly at risk. Our fear is that such clients might be persuaded to take steps to avoid probate fees, even if the effect is to leave them with insufficient assets to provide for themselves for the rest of their life.”