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Probate fees: jump from £155 to £20,000

On 24 February the government announced that it will implement changes to the application fees for Grants of Probate.

On 24 February the government announced that it will implement changes to the application fees for Grants of Probate – the court orders often needed to deal with the property of someone who has died. This will mean an increase in fees for the majority of estates.

Currently, the fee for all estates in excess of £5,000 is £155 if the application for the Grant is made by a solicitor and £215 if the application is made personally. The revised fees will be calculated by reference to the net value of the estate after deducting liabilities as follows:

Value of estate Fee
Up to £50,000 Nil
£50,000 to £300,000 £300
£300,000 to £500,000 £1,000
£500,000 to £1m £4,000
£1m to £1.6m £8,000
£1.6m to £2m £12,000
Over £2m £20,000

For estates over £2m the revised fee is nearly 129 times higher than the existing fee and for those between £500,000 and £1m the revised fee is almost 25 times higher. The increases may cause difficulties for executors as they will have to pay the application fee before they can access the funds in the estate. Where an estate consists mainly of property and little cash this could be problematic. There will be no option for executors to pay the fees by instalments as is currently possible with inheritance tax on properties.

The new fee scale is likely to take effect some time in May 2017 so executors should ideally be looking to submit applications to the Probate Registry before this date if possible.