Probate fees increase – don’t miss the deadline!
Despite overwhelming objections received during the consultation, the MOJ recently announced proposed increases in probate fees:
Value of estate Proposed fee
Up to £50,000 £0
Between £50k-£300k £300
Between £300k-£500k £1,000
Between £500k-£1m £4,000
Between £1m-£1.6m £8,000
Between £1.6m-£2m £12,000
More than £2m £20,000
Current fees are £215 or £155 for those applying through a solicitor.
The changes are currently expected to come into force in May, once parliamentary approval has been obtained. However, no implementation date has yet been announced and some further guidance released by the MOJ, in response to questions raised about the announcement, does not confirm a specific date.
The guidance does, however, include the following:
The new fees will apply to all applications received by the probate service on or after the implementation date of the new fees irrespective of the date of death. Any application received within working hours of the Probate Registry before the implementation date will be charged the current fee. Subject to approval of the necessary legislation by Parliament, we expect the new fees to take effect from May 2017, but the exact date will be confirmed nearer the time.
There is likely to be an inevitable scramble as solicitors and individual executors submit applications before this date.
However, for solicitors there is the added concern that a delay on their part may lead to allegations of negligence if additional (higher) fees are incurred as a result.