Earlier this year a general committee of MPs passed a statutory instrument which is set to increase the cost of obtaining a Grant of Probate significantly. This controversial fee increase – which has been dubbed ‘a stealth tax’ by its critics – is due to be read out in the House of Commons in the near future.
Currently a flat fee of £155 is payable when making an application for probate through a solicitor; this fee increases to £215 where individuals make a personal application for probate. Under the new structure these fees will be replaced by a sliding scale of fees commensurate with the value of an estate as demonstrated below:
|Value of Estate
|£2,000,001 or more
It was anticipated that this fee increase would be implemented by 1 April 2019 but due to Brexit consuming the parliamentary timetable the motion has yet to be scheduled. Typically, statutory instruments sail through parliament but MPs can force a vote on a particular issue if they object at the time it is read out. The Labour party have indicated they intend to oppose the motion and force a vote, which would mean that implementation of the new fee structure could be further delayed.
However, if an MP does not object then the new fee structure could come in to force as soon as 21 days after the motion is approved.
If you are at the outset or in the process of administering an estate, it is therefore well worth bearing the fee increase in mind to see if probate can be applied for as early as possible.
We would encourage you to contact our Wills, Estate and Powers of Attorney Team on 01603 610911 to see if we can assist you in obtaining a Grant before the fee increase hits.
Note: the content of this article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken in any specific circumstance.