A controversial plan to increase the Probate court fee to up to £20,000 has been approved and will come into effect from May this year. The current rate is £155 for a Solicitors application and £215 for an individual application and if the estate is less than £5000 no fee is payable.
The current structure would be as follows:
- £300 for estates worth more than £50,000 and up to £300,000
- £1,000 for estates worth more than £300,000 and up to £500,000
- £4,000 for estates worth more than £500,000 and up to £1 million
- £8,000 for estates worth more than £1m and up to £1.6 million
- £12,000 for estates worth more than £1.6m and up to £2 million
- £20,000 for estates worth more than £2 million
The changes could mean that an estate worth more than £2m is paying more than 129 times the current amount in court fees!
Rianne Wilcockson Private Client Solicitor at MKB Solicitors LLP says “It is an outrageous increase in the level of fees that clients will have to pay. Although most would approve a tiered structure based on the level of the estate, the amount of increase is going to cause clients a great deal of difficulty. Most funds in an estate cannot be accessed until after the Grant of Probate has been obtained and therefore it is still unclear how clients will have to fund the court fee.”
Despite strong opposition from local Solicitors about the impact this could have, the changes have been approved and will come into effect this May. If there is a silver lining to the drastic changes, it is that an estate worth less than £50,000 will no longer incur a probate fee. However it is worth noting that simply owning a property will usually take a person over this threshold regardless.
We are therefore looking for support from local solicitors in order to put together a formal letter of opposition to the changes coming in to force. Please get in touch with Liz at the Law Society should you wish to comment firstname.lastname@example.org