Probate fees set to soar: time to contact your solicitor?

Partner Richard OstleProbate court fees are set to soar for many people, with a new banded fee system likely to be introduced in May 2017. The cost of obtaining a grant of probate or letters of administration to deal with a deceased person’s estate and access the assets left to their beneficiaries will rise incrementally according to the estate’s value.

Currently, the court fees for probate applications are fixed at £155 (for applications made via a solicitor) or otherwise £215, regardless of the estate’s value.

The new fee structure will work as follows:

  • Estates valued at up to £50,000 – no fee.
  • Estates valued at £50,000.01 to £300,000 – £300 fee.
  • Estates valued at £300,000.01 to £500,000 – £1,000 fee.
  • Estates valued at £500,000.01 to £1,000,000 – £4,000 fee.
  • Estates valued at £1,000,000.01 to £1,600,000 – £8,000 fee.
  • Estates valued at £1,600,000.01 to £2,000,000 – £12,000 fee.
  • Estates valued at £2,000,000.01 or more – £20,000 fee.

Gaby Hardwicke Private Client Services Partner Richard Ostle (pictured) commented: “There is no rationale to this increase, other than to raise money for the exchequer. But in view of the size of the increases anyone dealing with a deceased person’s estate at the present time, in which the grant of probate has not yet been issued, would be well advised to accelerate the probate information gathering process immediately.

“For others looking ahead and wondering how to mitigate the potential impact of this charge there may be options available, for example through the use of trusts or transferring assets into other ownership arrangements, but these will not be appropriate for all clients as there are also potential pitfalls. It will therefore be important for any client to consider very carefully the pros and cons of their particular circumstances before proceeding and specialist advice should certainly be sought before action is taken.”

Wills and probate solicitors in Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings

For expert legal advice on the impact of the new probate-fee structure on your estate, and to explore whether there are any ways in which you can minimise these fees, please contact one of our Private Client Services Partners:

Posted: 22 March 2017

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