The Ministry of Justice has decided to postpone proposals to increase probate application fees, as the relevant legislation would not be completed before the snap election.
The changes were due to be introduced in May 2017 and would have been based on the value of the estate, as follows:
- No fee for estates worth up to £50,000
- £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
Currently, a fixed fee of £215 is payable when personal representatives make a personal application or £155 when the application is made through a solicitor.
The Ministry of Justice argued that the new fee structure was a fairer system, as more than half of all estates would pay nothing. It was suggested that the increased fees would be used to fund the court service.
However, there was much opposition to the changes and a parliamentary committee claimed that the Ministry of Justice did not have the authority to enforce such fees.
It remains to be seen whether the next government will continue with the proposed increase and the proposal may be abandoned altogether.
If you would like more information about the proposed changes in probate fees, please contact a member of our team of Probate Specialists, Outi Hubbard, Sarah Ellis or Florence Ferguson on 0208 735 9770.