Probate fees to rise to £6,000

New probate fees, due to come into force from April 2019, will see a banded system of probate fees for all estates valued over £50,000.

Currently a flat fee of £155 is payable upon a probate application made by an accountant (as an authorised provider of probate services) or £215 for an application made by an individual. These fees were set in 2014 and raise £45m per year, which covers the cost of running the Probate Registry.

The current flat rate system will be replaced with a banded pricing structure linked to the value of the estate (before inheritance tax). The new charges will hit larger estates valued at over £2m with a £6,000 bill, although original proposals to charge up to £20,000 have been dropped. See table below for proposed charges.

There will also be a cap on fees at no more than 0.5% of the value of the estate. At the same time, the estate value threshold will rise from £5,000 to £50,000.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice Lucy Frazer QC MP said: “For those who do pay, around 80% of estates will pay £750 or less, and all income raised will be spent on running the courts and tribunal service.” “This new banded fee model represents a fair and more progressive way to pay for probate services compared to the current flat fee.”

The fees will raise £145m per annum from 2019/20 and will be ring-fenced to fund the courts and tribunal service. In 2016/17, the courts service cost £1.6bn in running costs but recovered less than half of that in fees (£740m).

The 2018 draft Order still needs to be approved by the House of Commons, but the fees are set to come into effect from 1 April 2019.

Mark Speed, Probate Advisor and Personal Tax Manager at Ward Williams says:

“There are two ways of looking at the new fees – a stealth tax designed to hit those with valuable properties (which will also be subject to Inheritance Tax) – or a justified move to support the courts service. Either way, it would seem fair to say that the new charges don’t bear much correlation to the actual costs of obtaining probate.”

*Mark Speed is also a member of The Society of Will Writers.

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 - £1m

£2,500

£1m - £1.6m

£4,000

£1.6m - £2m

£5,000

Above £2m

£6,000

Find out more about our Probate and Estate Administration Services

For further information on Ward Williams Probate Service and/or advice on dealng with an estate please use the contact Malcolm McKinnell or Mark Speed on probateservices@wardwilliams.co.uk

About the author

Mark is a Personal Tax Manager and Probate Advisor at Ward Williams.

He is a Chartered Tax Advisor, advising on all areas of personal tax. He also offers specialist advice on Trusts, Estates, inheritance tax, Wills and Probate.

Mark keeps up to date with all UK personal tax issues so that he can deliver a valuable service to employees, high net worth individuals, property owners, entrepreneurs, Trustees, Executors, beneficiaries of Estates, and more.

Mark qualified as a Taxation Technician in 2010, achieving a Distinction in Personal Tax. He moved on to qualify as a Chartered Tax Advisor in 2012.

More recently, Mark passed the SWAT UK Certificate in Probate and Estate Administration Assessment in 2016. 

Mark is a full member of The Society of Will Writers.

mark.speed@wardwilliams.co.uk

01895 236335