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Probate Fee Changes Are Set To Affect Many Families

View profile for Sean Boucher
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Sean Boucher, an Associate Solicitors in Lifetime Planning, based in Carmarthen, tackles an issue around probate fees.

I am getting my affairs in order by making a Will and I have heard there are changes afoot regarding probate fees. If my estate is worth around £300,000, what will this mean in terms of probate payable?

If, as you are planning, you leave a Will, you will be doing much to simplify the process for your executor, upon your death. If you leave a Will it is likely that your appointed executor will need to apply to the Probate Registry to obtain a Grant of Probate to allow them to deal with the estate and gather any assets, before paying any outstanding bills, and distributing the remainder of your estate according to the terms of your Will.

There is a fee paid to the Probate Registry when applying for the Grant of Probate. In the past few weeks the government has resurrected plans for a hike in probate fees on larger estates, replacing the current flat rate payment with a sliding scale, based on the estate’s value.

At the moment, families pay a flat £215 to the Probate Registry, or £155 if they apply through a solicitor, on estates worth more than £5,000. In England and Wales, this threshold will be lifted to £50,000 from April. However, if the estate is worth more than this families will face increased probate fees:

  • Estates worth less than £50,000 will pay nothing
  • Estates worth from £50,000 up to £300,000 will pay £250
  • Estates worth from £300,000 up to £500,000 will pay £750
  • Estates worth from £500,000 up to £1 million will pay £2,500
  • Estates worth from £1 million up to £1.6 million will pay £4,000
  • Estates worth from £1.6 million up to £2 million will pay £5,000
  • Estates worth more than £2 million will pay £6,000

There are concerns around how, in practice, executors will pay the new probate fees and how the money will be recovered from the estate, since assets are often frozen until executors receive the Grant of Probate. The Ministry of Justice plans to publish a guidance document to clarify. 

Making a Will and dealing with future probate issues can be complex, so it is important to seek professional legal advice to guide you. JCP’s Lifetime Planning team is on hand for tailored legal support. For specialist legal advice, call Sean Boucher: 01267 266944 or: Sean.boucher@jcpsolicitors.co.uk 

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