As you may have heard, probate fees were going to be changed from April 2019, under the “Probate Fees Order”. The changes could have led to much larger fees being paid by a lot of estates, and as a result there has been a significant rise in probate applications.
At the moment, a flat application fee of £155 is payable if the application is made by a solicitor, or £215 if made by an individual. If the new rules came into force, a sliding scale would apply instead, depending on the value of the deceased’s estate:
The government have said that they want to invest the income from fees back into the courts. Although the government have estimated around 25,000 small estates per year will end up paying no probate fee, estates worth £50,000 or more will see an increase in fees, with many seeing a very significant increase, hence the proposals being considered by many to be controversial. As a general rule, it costs the courts no more to process an application for a small estate than it does a very large estate, with fees being paid far in excess of the cost of the service being provided.
So what’s the update? Well, in short, the government have many urgent items on their agenda at the moment and changes to probate fees do not seem to be one of them. We’re now expecting discussions on the changes to probate fees to resume when the new Parliamentary calendar starts following summer recess. To be continued!