Recently, the Government announced that the fee for obtaining a Grant of Probate (or alternatively, if there is no Will, a Grant of Letters of Administration) is set to increase.
Currently, the fee payable to the Probate Registry is £155 when the application is made by a solicitor or £215 when made by anyone else. The new fee will be calculated with reference to the value of the net estate of the deceased (assets minus date of death liabilities) and, crucially, before any exemptions for inheritance tax are taken into consideration.
Subject to parliamentary approval, the change is set for May 2017, with the exact date due to be confirmed. The Probate Registry has released the following information regarding the fee bands:
While estates worth £50,000 or less will benefit from paying no fee, all other estates will see an increase and, in some cases, this will be extreme. Executors will need to factor this fee into their initial preparations, particularly where cash is not readily accessible. The fee is payable before the Grant is issued and we understand that banks will arrange for a transfer direct to the Probate Registry out of a deceased’s bank account, if required.
There are reports that the Parliamentary Committee reviewing the legislation has raised queries as to whether the fee increase is justifiable or within the powers of the Government. However, unless or until a final decision is made to reverse the fee increase, we are advising our clients to take this into consideration in any estate they are currently dealing with.
The Private Client team at CooperBurnett provides a professional guiding hand throughout the administration process, helping to make the matter easier and quicker, wherever possible. If, however, an executor chooses to deal with the administration by themselves, we can be on hand to give practical and clear advice, or steer you in the right direction and support you at a difficult time.
If you wish to discuss any matters arising out of this article, please do not hesitate to contact Sarah Strong from our Private Client team on 01892 515022 or firstname.lastname@example.org