Leading Cheshire law firm, SAS Daniels LLP is warning people who have been appointed as an Executor of a Will or an Estate Administrator to act now to avoid being stung by a huge rise in probate fees from May of this year.
Currently there is a flat fee of £215 payable on all estates regardless of their value (or £155 if you use a solicitor) but from May 2017 these fees will rise according to the size of an estate, starting at £300 for an estate worth £50,000 or more and escalating to £20,000 for estates worth over £2million.
Probate fees are charged for administering an estate and getting a Grant of Probate to process estates and allow families access to any money or assets that have been left. This massive hike in fees has been given the go ahead by the Ministry of Justice despite severe criticism of the new tiered structure by the legal profession.
SAS Daniels said: “We’re urging anyone in our region who’s thinking about applying for probate to act quickly and apply before the new charges come into force to avoid these exorbitant fees.
“The Government is facing real criticism for this fee increase. Many are calling it a stealth tax when wealthy estates are already forced to pay Inheritance Tax and at a rise of 40 per cent for estates worth £50,000 to 9,200 percent for estates over £2 million, it’s completely disproportionate to the service level involved for probate to be granted.
“Our concern is that people will think they have plenty of time to apply for probate, when in reality they need to take urgent action now. We also believe that people may try to change the way they handle their estates in a bid to avoid the fee, which may lead to complications for their families at a later date.
“This fee increase will impact all of our clients who need help with estate administration and failure to act before the increase could result in the beneficiaries claiming reimbursement of the fee from the executor, especially if they’ve been slow to act.”
The flat fee is due to be replaced with a tiered fee structure which will all depend on the value of the estate:
|Value of Estate||Fee|
|£0 – £50,000||No fee|
|£50,001 – £300,000||£300|
|£300,001 – £500,000||£1000|
|£500,001 – £1,000,000||£4000|
|£1,000,001 – £1,600,000||£8000|
|£1,600,001 – £2,000,000||£12,000|
|£2,000,001 or more||£20,000|
SAS Daniels’ Personal Law team operates throughout Cheshire and its specialist expertise includes wills, trusts, estate planning, Lasting Power of Attorney, probate and a range of services relating to elderly care.