On Friday the Ministry of Justice announced a widespread increase on the Court Fees payable when applying for probate.
This article clarifies the main changes which are likely to come into force in May 2017.
The Current Fee Structure
Under the current fee structure, the court fees for probate are :-
- £150 if the application is made through a solicitor
- £215 if made as part of a personal application ie not through a solicitor
The New Fee Structure
The old Court fees will be replaced by new fee structure that varies depending upon the value of the estate, with a number of key features :
- raising the threshold from which no fee is payable from £5,000 to £50,000
- no exemptions to the fees are likely to be allowable
- the maximum court fee will be £20,000
The new Court fees are follows :-
No Fee if the estate value is below £50,000
£300 if the estate value exceeds £50,000 but not £300,000
£1,000 if the estate value exceeds £300,000 by not £500,000
£4,000 if the estate value exceeds £500,000 but not £1million
£8,000 if the estate exceeds £1m but not £1.6M
£12,000 if the estate value exceeds £1.6m but not £2M
£20,000 if the estate value exceeds £20,000
Concerns over the new Court Fees
The new Court Fees have attracted widespread criticism. The majority of the respondents to the MOJ consultation argued against the fee increase, despite this the Consultation advises that the Government felt a fee structure proportionate to the value of the estate would be fairer. Too many the new fees simply represent a new form of inheritance tax whilst there are of course very serious concerns as to how the fees will be funded by Executors. Whilst banks maybe prepared to release funds for the payment of Court fees, there are many estates which are asset wealthy but cash poor, with the house the only asset. In these cases funding may well be an issue.
If you have a question or a concern relating to the new fees, please contact Tim Murden who heads our proabte team on 01482 429985 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org