Proposal to increase probate court fees

The current fee for an application to the Probate Registry for a grant of representation in all estates worth more than £5,000, when made via a solicitor, is £155, with an additional 50p charged for each office copy of the grant that is required.

The fee for personal applications is £215.

On 18 February the Ministry of Justice began a consultation, due to end on 1 April, on its proposals to change these fees, the proposals being:

Net value of estate                         New fee

0 - £50,000                                    No fee

£50,001 - £300,000                        £300

£300,001 - £500,000                      £1,000

£500,001 - £1,000,000                   £4,000

£1,000,001 - £1,600,000                £8,000

£1,600,001 - £2,000,000               £12,000

Above £2,000,000                         £20,000

At the absolute extreme this represents a fee increase of over 12,900%!

We do not of course yet know from when the new fees will be applicable, if at all. However if you are a personal representative and have not obtained a grant of representation, you should be mindful of this huge potential increase in the fees, and will want to gather together the information for the application without delay. Some financial institutions will need to be encouraged to provide the information more quickly than they currently do – delays could be financially disastrous for estates.

Head of Wills & Tax Lee Young says, emphasises, "At Frettens the Wills & Tax team can help gather the information together in a timely manner and present the application for the grant of representation to the Probate Registry. Moreover, if the new rules do come in as above then we will undoubtedly be looking to design new legal products that might assist to reduce or remove the effect of these huge and disproportionate fees."

Our Wills & Tax Team, based in Christchurch, also cover Bournemouth, Poole and the New Forest. For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Lee or a member of the team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.