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Probate fees on the increase

Probate fees are to increase according to a new government consultation, which will see the end of the current flat fee approach and the introduction of a new banded approach based on the value of an estate.  These proposals were originally introduced in 2016 and faced fierce resistance on the grounds that they were a stealth tax as the costs for obtaining probate in larger estates would be many time the actual costs incurred by the courts. Because of the 2017 General Election, the original proposals were dropped, and have now been replaced with a new range of costs, which are lower than those initially planned.

Under the revised plans, in place of a fixed charge for a probate application of £155 for applications made through a solicitor of £155 and £215 for applications made personally or not through a solicitor, there will be a sliding scale of fees for probate application depending on the size of the estate. Fees will start at £250 for estates worth more than £50,000 and up to £300,000, while, at the top end, estates worth more than £2 million will have to pay £6,000.

However, the value of an estate below which no fee is payable will rise from £5,000 to £50,000, lifting some estates out of paying any fee.

The changes, which will come into effect in April 2019, are part of a drive to reduce the cost of running courts and tribunals, and raise £145 million per annum for the Exchequer.

These increased fees will only apply to Estates in England and Wales.