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Probate Registry Fee Increase | If you wish to discuss any matters arising out of this article please contact CooperBurnett Solicitors

By our Private Client team

Originally published in the Winter issue of Connect (West Kent Chamber of Commerce and Industry) 


Proposed plans to substantially increase Probate fees (which were scrapped in the run up to the 2017 General Election) look set to come into force in April 2019. Here the Private Client team from CooperBurnett LLP outlines the changes.  


Currently, the fee payable to the Probate Registry for obtaining a Grant of Probate (or alternatively, if there is no Will, a Grant of Letters of Administration) 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 April 2019, with the exact date due to be confirmed. Under the proposed new system, the following fees will apply:


probate registry fees


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. 


Justice Minister Lucy Frazer has said the move was justified to support the courts service, with the maximum fee to be charged representing no more than 0.5% of the value of an estate. By raising the level at which fees are payable from £5,000 to £50,000, she said 25,000 estates would not pay anything at all while 80% of estates would pay no more than £750. Ministers have listened to concerns raised last year which would have seen fees raised to a maximum of £20,000 for some estates. 


However, critics have warned that these new fees will essentially be a ‘death tax’. George Hodgson, Chief Executive of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners has commented that ‘the new charges bear no relation to the cost of probate, and are simply another form of taxation, sneaked in through the back door’.


The Private Client team at CooperBurnett LLP aims to provide a guiding hand throughout the administration process, helping to make the matter easier and quicker, wherever possible. Our fees for assisting are very competitive and we are able to work in conjunction with an Executor to keep costs down. There are often times that an Executor can deal with the administration by themselves, but we remain on hand to give practical and clear advice, or simply to 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 contact one of our team – Partner Katie Gillam or Associates Solicitors Sarah Strong or Katie Hancock – on tel: 01892 515022 

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December 11, 2018
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