The much anticipated hike in probate fees, which was due to take effect in May, has been dropped following the announcement that there will be a snap General Election on 8th June. The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that there is insufficient time to push the legislation through parliament before the election. This has led to speculation that the proposals may even be scrapped altogether.
Probate fees are paid to the government when someone dies and the executor of their estate collects any assets in order to distribute them to the beneficiaries of the Will.
Will probate fees be increased after the election?
It will be up to the next government to decide whether to proceed with the original plan. This would see an increase in probate fees from the current flat fee of £155 (or £215 if a personal application is made) to a sliding scale ranging from £300 to £20,000 based on the value of the estate.
This news was welcomed by respondents to the consultation which included members of the public, practitioners and professional bodies who overwhelmingly argued against the proposed changes. There has been much criticism surrounding the new fees, on the basis that the fee increase does not represent the cost associated with administering the Grant of Representation and that it is akin to a death duty. Executors would also be placed in the burdensome position of having to pay the fees before they have access to the deceased’s assets which may deter those appointed to act in the estate administration process.
Whilst we wait for new decisions to be made, what is clear is that for now it’s business as usual and the probate fee remains at a flat rate.
If you have any queries about probate fees or would like advice regarding administering an estate, please contact our Estate Administration and Probate Team on 0161 475 7676.