Latest news on sliding scale Grant of Probate fees

With Brexit taking all the news in Parliament for the past few months, it will have gone unnoticed by most that the Government’s plan to introduce a…

With Brexit taking all the news in Parliament for the past few months, it will have gone unnoticed by most that the Government’s plan to introduce a sliding scale of probate fees has almost come into effect.

The necessary legislation to implement these fees changes is yet to be laid before Parliament, but it is anticipated to happen in April 2019. If approved by Parliament, the new fees will come into force after 21 days. Some MPs have announced that they will oppose the statutory instrument, slowing down the process, as they consider it to be nothing more than a stealth tax.

The current flat rate fee for a Grant of Probate application is £215 (or £155 if you instruct a solicitor). Once the new fees come into force, any estates valued above £50,000 will pay a sliding scale fee, starting at £250, rising to a maximum of £6,000.

Personal representatives have been rushing to get their grant applications submitted before the new fees come into force, which has increased the pressure on probate offices, as well as on HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) who process the inheritance tax calculations during the administration of estates process.

Personal representatives have now been advised that they can submit applications for Grants of Probate before they receive clearance of their inheritance tax account from HMRC, in a temporary concession to deal with the current uncertainty over the potential probate fee increase.

At Weightmans, we are utilising this temporary change in the rules to try and ensure that as many of our clients’ Grant applications are dealt with before the fees increase.

If you are named as a personal representative in the estate of someone who has recently passed away, then you may need to act quickly to avoid paying a higher probate fee. The Wills, Trusts and Estates team would be happy to discuss the impact of this in relation to your own tax planning. Please feel free to contact a member of the team on 0345 073 9900.

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