The Government announced that there will be substantial changes to the level of probate fees being introduced from April 2019.
The new legislation will raise the estate value threshold from £5,000 to £50,000, which will exclude around 25,000 estates from probate fees altogether. However, estates worth more than £50,000 will see an increased fee with the revised structure ensuring that the value of fees will be more than 0.5% of the estate’s value.
There is currently a flat fee system charge by the Probate Registry which is £215, or £155 if an estate uses a solicitor to apply for probate. This applies to all estates over £5,000.
From April 2019 the Probate Registry fees will be:
Difficulties could arise where there is no immediate access to funds in the Estate, for example if the Estate comprises just a house or investments and a Grant is needed for release of funds. It may fall upon the beneficiaries to fund the probate fee until the estate assets are administered.
These fees are purely the court fee for the Grant of Probate to be issued, a process that involves the same amount of work for the courts regardless of the value of the estate. It is being suggested that there will be a temptation to under value assets if an estate is close to the fees banding, which could prove to be a costly exercise if it results in disputes over valuations.
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