The Government has announced that it is carrying out a review of Probate Court fees. If these changes take effect the fees will rocket.
When somebody dies leaving an estate worth more than £5,000 an application has to be made to the Probate Registry to deal with it. The fee payable through a Solicitor is £155 and £215 if you do it yourself. These are fixed fees. You pay the same fee if the estate is worth £50,000 or £5,000,000.
Under the proposed new structure the Probate fee will be based on the value of the assets.
The Proposed Fee Structure
|Value of Estate||Proposed Fee|
|Up to £50,000||£0|
|£50,000 – £300,000||£300|
|£300,000 – £500,000||£1,000|
|£500,000 – £1m||£4,000|
|£1m – £1.6m||£8,000|
|£1.6m – £2m||£12,000|
Who Would Gain?
More than 50% of estates are valued at less than £50,000 so the proposal helps those as there would be no fee to pay.
Who Would Lose?
Any estate with a value of more than £50,000.
The proposal could cause real difficulties where the main asset in the estate is a house. The executors for the estate will have to find the money for the fee even where there is no cash in the estate.
The Government consultation period ends in April of this year. It will be a case of watch this space.
Peter Kirrane Head of Wills and Probate Department