From May 2017 the fees payable when applying for a Grant of Representation (probate or letters of administration) will be calculated depending on the value of the deceased person’s estate.
|Estate Value||Probate Fee|
|Up to £50,000||No fee|
|Between £50,000 and £300,000||£300|
|Between £300,000 and £500,000||£1,000|
|Between £500,000 and £1 million||£4,000|
|Between £1 million and £1.6 million||£8,000|
|Between £1.6 million and £2 million||£12,000|
|Over £2 million||£20,000|
The new charges represent a significant increase in the fees payable (currently £155) and are being introduced, despite opposition in public consultation, in order to support the overall cost of the Courts and Tribunals system.
Personal representatives who are dealing with estates should apply for probate as soon as possible otherwise they will have to pay the application fee under the new system. If your estate also has to pay inheritance tax you will have to submit your tax return to HMRC before applying for probate, so the timescale for dealing with HMRC also has to be considered.
Many people will wonder how they are supposed to pay this fee when they cannot access the deceased person’s bank accounts until probate has been granted. It has been suggested that the banks will release a cheque from the bank account (provided there is enough money) as they already allow this for the payment of Inheritance Tax.
The public consultation suggests that an executor or a member of the family may be willing to pay the fee first and then recover it from the estate later on. Alternatively, the executors may be able to take out a personal loan to cover the cost.
Full details of the new fees are still to be released but there do not appear to be any exemptions from the fee, unlike inheritance tax which isn’t charged on assets passing to a surviving spouse or to charity.
Executors will need to think about how they are going to pay the probate fee early in the process of dealing with an estate. At Glaisyers we can help you to identify and value the assets of the deceased and help you to work out a practical solution for paying the probate fee and any other obstacles you may face.