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Increases to Probate application fees: another way to tax?

3rd March 2017

The Ministry of Justice has announced increases to Probate Application fees which will be effective as of May 2017.

Currently when applying for Probate, the Court requests £215 for a personal application and £155 solicitor application to cover the cost of the administrative functions of the Court to process and issue the Grants of Probate or Letters of Administration.

The planned increases are scaled and based on the value of the deceased person’s estate passing under their Will.

The changes are part of a drive to find extra funding for the whole of the Courts and Tribunals Service, reduce the number of Court closures and maintain access to justice as well as providing an additional stream of funding for the Exchequer.

The proposed probate application fees are as follows:

  • Fee Exempt for estates worth less than £50,000
  • £300 for estates worth more than £50,000 and up to £300,000
  • £1,000 for estates worth more than £300,000 and up to £500,000
  • £4,000 for estates worth more than £500,000 and up to £1 million
  • £8,000 for estates worth more than £1m and up to £1.6 million
  • £12,000 for estates worth more than £1.6m and up to £2 million
  • £20,000 for estates worth more than £2 million

Given the value of property in South and South East, a larger number of deceased estates will be drawn into the higher fee brackets in future and places what amounts to an additional levy on deceased estates. Similarly Estates which were previously non-taxable for Inheritance tax purposes are now subject to a fixed fee payable to the Government.

Whilst we expect Court fee increases from time to time, the nature of the wholesale changes to the system are excessive. We would urge you to write to your MP so that serious questions will be asked of the Government. MP’s email addresses can be found at www.writetothem.com

For further information please contact Mitchell Thompson, an Associate in Mundays’ Private Wealth department.

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