Despite massive opposition, the Government has confirmed that it will introduce higher probate fees from May 2017.
At the moment, if probate is applied for by friends or family, a £215 flat fee applies (or £155 if a solicitor completes the process).
From May this year, however, the system will change, with the initial threshold being raised to £50,000 from £5,000. Probate fees will then be charged on a sliding scale based on the value of an estate, with a maximum fee of £20,000.
The ThisisMoney website reports that these price rises represent an increase of 40% up to 9,202% on current probate fees. The costs will be as follows:
- £300 for estates worth more than £50,000 and up to £300,000 (a 40% increase from £215)
- £1,000 for estates worth more than £300,000 and up to £500,000 (a 365% rise)
- £4,000 for estates worth more than £500,000 and up to £1million (a 1,760 % increase)
- £8,000 for estates worth more than £1million and up to £1.6million (a 3,621% rise)
- £12,000 for estates worth more than £1.6million and up to £2million (a 5,481% increase)
- £20,000 for estates worth more than £2million (a 9,202% rise)
The other concern of probate fees is that these fees are payable upfront with the application, so anyone applying directly (i.e. not using a solicitor) will need to pay these monies within weeks of the person’s demise – adding further financial distress on top of funeral costs which cost an average £4,000.
This is the second rise in two years for the cost of probate fees. In April 2015, the Ministry of Justice increased court fees for probate applications through a solicitor by 244%, and by almost 105% for personal applications.