In November 2018, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice Lucy Frazer QC MP confirmed that new legislation is before Parliament to implement a new structure of fees for a grant of representation (usually called a Grant of Probate).
The current system means that an individual applying for Probate pays a fee of £215, and a solicitor making the application pays £155.
The new system sets up a sliding scale of fees, based on the value of the deceased person’s estate. For some people, this may mean a saving, however for many others, it may mean a significant rise in the fees due when the application for Probate is made.
The first major change is that the threshold for paying a fee is being raised from £5,000 to £50,000; meaning that if an estate is below £50,000, there will be no fee to pay when making the application. The government claims that this means that around 25,000 estates a year will no longer be required to pay these fees.
While full details of the new regime have not yet been released, Lucy Frazer has confirmed that the new fees will never be more than 0.5% of the value of the estate and the maximum fee will be £6,000, which would be payable on estates worth more than £2m. A fee structure planned previously but abandoned, would have charged estates of £2m an application fee of £12,000.
Frazer has stated that 80% of estates will pay £750 or less.
This still means that many estates will face significantly higher fees than under the current system, which the government claims will represent a fair and more progressive way to pay for probate services, with the money raised being used to update and simplify the probate process and the justice system generally.
It has been confirmed that the fees will be recoverable from the estate of the deceased person and that the Executors will have several options open to them to fund them.
It is expected that the new fees will be introduced in April 2019. If you have any concerns about probate fees or about obtaining a Grant of Probate, then please contact Lizzie Michell for further information.