As many of us were probably aware, Probate fees were due to increase by the 1st of April 2019. However, this has, for the time being at least, been delayed. In order to come into force, the increase needs to be approved by Parliament, but with Parliament’s attention heavily focused on Brexit at present, this has not happened yet.
At present, there is a flat fee of £215 on all estates over £5,000 (or £157 if you use a Solicitor), which in reality, applies to most estates. Therefore, if you need to obtain a Grant of Probate, everyone pays the same amount. An increase in Probate fees was previously proposed back in 2017. Under these previous proposals, the fees could have potentially increased to as much as £20,000 for the largest estates. However, the more recent proposal, which is currently awaiting Parliamentary consent, potentially increases Probate fees to a maximum of £6,000 for the largest estates. A summary of the proposed fees, both those in 2017 and the current proposals, can be seen in the Table below:-
|Estate Value||Current Fee||Proposed Fees 2017||Proposed Fees 2019|
|£5,001 – £50,000||£155 – £215||£0||£0|
|£50,001- £300,000||£155 – £215||£300||£250|
|£300,001- £500,000||£155 – £215||£1,000||£750|
|£500,001 – £1 million||£155 – £215||£4,000||£2,500|
|£1m – £1.6 million||£155 – £215||£8,000||£4,000|
|£1.6m – £2.0 million||£155 – £215||£12,000||£5,000|
|£2 million +||£155 – £215||£20,000||£6,000|
Whilst the fee increase under the current proposal is far less than the previous proposal in 2017, there is still no guarantee that the proposal will be passed when the issue is discussed in Parliament. There are arguments from some that the proposed increase constitutes progressive tax, which if accurate, would be beyond the powers of those seeking to increase the fees. That being said, it is nonetheless worthwhile trying to get any application in as soon as possible under the current fee scale as shown above, just in case the proposals are implemented.