Government plans to go ahead with changes to probate fees
Paul Mounce, 27th February, 2017
We now have a response to the Government's 'consultation regarding fees for grants of probate'. Changes to probate fees look set to go ahead as the Government propose to introduce a banded structure that will see fees increase in line with the value of the estate.
The Government has published its response to the ‘Consultation on fee proposals for Grants of Probate’ today.
Subject to parliamentary approval, it's expected that a new fee regime will come into effect in May 2017.
Currently, the application fee for a Grant of Probate, regardless of the size of the estate, is fixed at £155.
Under the new regime, estates valued at between £300,000 and £500,000 will see a fee increase to £1,000. Estates where the value is between £500,000 and £1,000,000 will see their fees increase to £4,000.
The new changes are set to impact those estates whose value is above £2,000,000 the most, where the new proposed fee would see an increase to a staggering £20,000.
Its still unclear how these fees will be funded, with the Government in talks with banks on allowing funds to be released to meet these fees prior to Probate being granted. Banks already allow this for Funeral costs and may be willing to extend this to cover the new fees.
For those estates where the only asset is a property, it may be that executors will be expected to finance the fee themselves to sell the property.
There is a small piece of good news in that the threshold at which probate charges are payable has been increased from £5,000 to £50,000. Something the Government say will mean 58% of estates will not pay a probate fee.
The other good news is the current charges are still in place until the implementation date is announced.
So if you're dealing with an estate at the moment, it would pay to make a probate application as soon as possible.
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Concerned about how these changes may affect your estate?
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Please call Paul Mounce on 01482 590281.
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You can find out more about the Government's response here.