The UK’s Trusted Probate Specialists
Probate Court Fees 2019
The Government announced late in 2018, a substantial increase in the Court fees when applying for probate. So what does this actually mean and when will the increase take place ?
The present position
Currently, there are fixed fees that the Government charge when applying for probate. The fees differ depending whether you apply in person or through a solicitor. A self application fee currently stands at £215, whilst the solicitor fee is £155.
The New Fee Scales
Of course an increase in Court fees is nothing new, in 2017, the Government attempted to increase huge fee increases however these were never introduced due to the uproar in the fees which were regarded by many as a back door tax, on top of inheritance tax which many estates are forced to pay before probate can be issued.
So what are the fees likely to be introduced and when do they come into force ?
The table below shows how the new fees will work, with the value of the estate determining the value of the fee.
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Why are the fees being introduced ?
The government through a MOJ minister Lucy Fraser, outlined the reasons for the increase in a statement issued in November 2018, the Minister stating :-
The Government is investing £1 billion to modernise and upgrade the courts system so that it works even better for everyone, including victims, witnesses, litigants, judges and legal professionals. This includes introducing changes to our Probate Service, who offer an important service to those who are bereaved.
The reform of the service allows people to apply for a grant of probate online, access assisted digital support for those who many not necessarily have the skills or access to engage digitally and empowers individuals to make applications themselves instead of needing to instruct and pay for solicitors. This aims to reduce the burden on applicants, by providing a more efficient and simpler application process.
But such a courts system is simply not possible without proper funding. Since the previous Government set out its intentions to introduce a banded fee structure for grants of probate in February 2017, a number of concerns were raised. We have listened to these very carefully, and under today’s proposal we have revised fees so they will never be more than 0.5% of the value of the estate.
Moreover, by raising the estate value threshold from £5,000 to £50,000, we will be lifting around 25,000 estates annually out of fees altogether. For those who do pay, around 80% of estates will pay £750 or less, and all income raised will be spent on running the courts and tribunal service.
The implementation date is likely to be April 2019.
Are the new fees fair ?
Like the proposals in 2017, the new fee increases have caused considerable controversy. Many Charities totally dependant upon legacy income estimate that their income will fall by over £10 million, whilst the government has also failed to address how the fees will be paid on those estates in which there are no cash assets. The overriding concern is that the fees represent an unfair back door tax on top of inheritance tax. At the highest level fees will increase from £155 to £6,000 It is inconceivable that such a fee increase can be justified at any level when the process and procedure of applying for probate remains the same.
TM solicitors offer a guaranteed fixed fee probate service. If you need help with probate, please feel free to contact Tim Murden at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01482 429985.