Proposed Increases Probate Fees Good For Some

Proposed Increases Probate Fees.


Probate fees are set for a massive increase if Mr Osborn gets his way. But interestingly, it will be his pals who end up footing the highest increases, which is refreshing.   Many people will only pay an extra 50% or so if the February 2016 proposals are accepted.   But the well off will pay eye watering increases to rubber stamp all the hard work we do as solicitors. Here are the details.  Bear in mind that all non exempt estate pay £215 at the moment (slightly less when solicitors apply.)  I would also refer you to our page on avoiding probate fees!

The Proposed Increases Probate Fees.

The proposals beat inflation by rather a large margin!

  • Estates under £50,000 or exempt from requiring a grant of probate (57% of estates) NO FEE (that is a saving for a few people).
  • The estate is more than £500,000 but does not exceed £1m (5% of estates.) New Court fee £4,000 was £215, an increase of 1,900%
  • The estate is more than £300,000 but does not exceed £500,000 (10% of estates.) New Court fee £1,000, an increase of nearly 500%.
  • Where the estate exceeds £50,000 but does not exceed £300,000 (27% of estates) new Court fee £300 an increase of just under 50%.
  • The estate exceeds £1m but does not exceed £1.6m (1% of estates.) New Court fee £8,000 an increase of 3,900%.
  • The estate exceeds £1.6m but does not £2m (0.2% of estates.) New Court fee £12,000 which is an increase of 5,800%.
  • Above £2m (0.4% of estates) £20,000. That is an even bigger percentage increase.

The Ministers Press Release on the proposed increases probate fees.

Proposed increases in probate fees
Proposed increases in probate fees

Access to justice is a vital part of an effective and functioning democracy, helping to maintain social order and a growing economy. Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service (‘HMCTS’) underpins access to justice and the rule of law in England and Wales.

On 23 June 2015, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice set out his vision for One Nation Justice, with a justice and court system built around the needs of the most vulnerable, putting the public first and working to make justice accessible to all.

Using £700 million investment allocated in the Spending Review, we will transform the justice and court system in line with that vision, helping people reach the best resolution for them; reducing complexity in language, processes and systems; minimising the steps that people need to go through to obtain justice; and improving access to justice.

We want to invest in better facilities, use technology to reduce paperwork, and create a service that will better meet the needs of those who use our services. This is a bold and radical plan for justice and court reform that will deliver a system that is fit for the modern age.

As part of this future court system, we want to see a simpler, more streamlined process for probate users which will enable most applications to be completed online. This will make the Probate Service much easier to navigate, reducing worry for executors at what is often a very difficult and distressing time for them and for all the deceased’s friends and family.

In order both to meet the Ministry of Justice’s Spending Review settlement and to secure the £700 million investment described above, we must reduce the burden of HMCTS on the taxpayer. The courts and tribunals administered by HMCTS cost £1.8 billion in 2014/15, but only £700 million was received in income. This leaves a net cost to the taxpayer of around £1.1bn in one year alone. All parts of the Ministry of Justice must contribute to the national effort to reduce the deficit and restore the government’s finances to surplus – and that means we must take further steps to bring down that cost. Alongside using the investment for a better courts system, the Ministry of Justice needs to play its part in reducing the deficit, and putting HMCTS’s funding on a long-term sustainable footing.

We are therefore proposing changes to probate fees which would both increase income to make our courts and tribunals more sustainable and make the probate system fairer. The particular proposals in this consultation set out a new and progressive regime of fees for applications for the grant of probate. Our proposals would lift 30,000 estates out of paying the probate fee altogether, so that the proportion of estates paying no fee at all would rise to 57%.

For higher value estates, the fee would increase in stages as the value of the estate increases. The fee would never exceed 1% of the value of the estate and in many cases it would be considerably less. Overall, these changes would raise an 3 Court Fees | Consultation on proposals to reform fees for grants of probate additional £250 million a year – a critical contribution to reducing the costs of HMCTS on the taxpayer and cutting the deficit. These proposals mean we can still afford to preserve access to justice for all and maintain an efficient, effective and properly funded courts and tribunals’ service as part of our world leading justice system.

Shailesh Vara Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice, on the proposed increases in probate fees charge by Courts.

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