A written ministerial statement has been made to Parliament, ensuring that the increase in Probate Court fees is placed firmly back on the agenda.
We wrote last year about the intended rise of Probate Fees, which saw proposed increases of more than 50 times the current charge. The changes moved from the flat fee to a percentage-based system which impacted significantly on larger estates.
The idea was shelved in April 2017 after the announcement of another General Election; it was considered that there was insufficient parliamentary time left to push the changes through.
However the proposal has now been revised and is once again being pursued.
The current court fee for an application made via a solicitor is £155 and £215 for individuals - the proposed fees are as follows:
|Value of Estate (Before Inheritance Tax) ||Proposed Fee |
|Up to £50,000 or exempt from requiring a grant of probate ||£0 |
|£50,000 - £300,000 ||£250 |
|£300,000 - £500,000 ||£750 |
|£500,000 - £1 million ||£2,500 |
|£1 million - £1.6 million ||£4,000 |
|£1.6 million - £2 million ||£5,000 |
|Above £2 million ||£6,000 |
The justification remains that users of the court must contribute to its costs. However, the proposed regime will force larger estates to subsidise other areas of the court system. In its previous incarnation the proposal was criticised as an additional form of taxation.
It is not clear yet when the proposal is intended to take effect and if indeed it will this time.