Probate fees are currently a fixed fee of £155.00 when made through a solicitor for all estates worth £5,000.00 plus. The Ministry of Justice has just confirmed that from May the Probate Fees on some estates will increase by almost £20,000.00.
AST Hampsons Head of Wills and Probate Department, Louise Salisbury said “The current fee of £155.00 (when the application is made through a solicitor) is often funded by the solicitors firm until Probate is granted and bank accounts can be accessed. With such huge increases this is likely to change causing hardship and inconvenience , although there will be no fee for estates below £50,000.00 the charges for estates between £50,000- £300,000.00 will be £300.00 and between £300,000.00- £500,000.00 will be £1000.00. This is an enormous increase bearing in mind that the work undertaken by the Probate Registry is the same whatever the value of the estate .”
Claire Davis, Director, SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly) said:
“SFE is extremely disappointed to see that the consensus to reject the proposed probate fees has been ignored.
“For the 62% of estates that use a solicitor, probate registry performs a purely administrative role, and the value of the estate has no bearing on the work undertaken.
“To burden larger estates with a significantly larger fee is an unfair form of taxation. For people in this situation, their property is often their primary asset, and they have little cash to pay for higher probate fees, on top of other necessities such as IHT or the use of a solicitor.
“The increase in probate fees will place a burden on families at a sensitive and distressing time and is likely to put people who are vulnerable and/or elderly at risk. Our fear is that such clients might be persuaded to take steps to avoid probate fees, even if the effect is to leave them with insufficient assets to provide for themselves for the rest of their life.”
We are pleased to see the comment has already been featured in a This Is Money article this morning, alongside several other professionals who agree with our point of view.
To see the full article, click here