Proposed Rise in Probate Fees Scrapped

The Government has reversed its decision to change probate fees, which would have seen some bereaved families pay almost £6,000 in additional costs. 

At the end of 2018, the Government announced plans to alter the charging structure for probate fees in England and Wales, which are paid when administering someone's estate after they die. It said it would replace the current flat fee, now £215, with a sliding scale (see below), meaning larger estates would have been charged higher fees. 

However, the proposed increase in the Probate Fees led to a surge in applications, which has resulted in a backlog at the Probate Registries. This in turn has led to delays in the processing of applications.  Where previously, on average applications took three months to process, the backlog at the Registries has resulted in applications taking six months or more. 

Proposed charges - both sets of plans are now scrapped

Estate Value

Previous Fee Proposal

New Fee Proposal

£50,000 or exempt from requiring Probate

£0

£0

£50,000 - £300,000

£300

£250

£300,000 - £500,000

£1,000

£750

£500,000 - £1m

£4,000

£2,500

£1m - £1.6m

£8,000

£4,000

£1.6m - £2m

£12,000

£5,000

Above £2m

£20,000

£6,000

Source: Ministry of Justice

This would have abolished fees for estates worth less than £50,000, but represented a rise for any estates worth more than this.

The changes were due to come into force in April, but have been delayed indefinitely and the Government has now reversed its position, saying probate fees will instead be reviewed as part of the annual assessment of charges in family and civil courts. 

For now at least, fees will remain at £215 for estates over £5,000, or £155 if families apply through an accountant or solicitor.

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