Despite overwhelming opposition, the Government has approved a change from a flat fee of £155 when applying for a Grant of Probate to a fee of up to £20,000, depending upon the value of the estate. This represents a maximum increase of over 12,903%.
A fee scale is being introduced, whereby the more valuable the estate is, the more the executors will have to pay. The bottom rate will be set at £300 for estates worth between £50,000 and £300,000 and this will escalate to £20,000 for estates worth over £2million.
The move has been made following a consultation process which received hundreds of responses, with only 8 per cent of them being in favour of the proposals. What’s more is that the changes will be coming in from May this year, giving executors on estates which have not yet gone to probate only weeks to make the application before the new charges come in – which will be an expense that they will not have anticipated.
The fees will be in addition to Inheritance Tax and has been dubbed another stealth tax, leaving many experts and professionals up in arms.
However, the threshold below which no fee is payable for applications for grants of probate will be increased from £5,000 to £50,000, and the Government state that this will mean 58 per cent of all estate will be exempt from any fee at all.
The Government has said whilst it understands the concerns over the level of the fee increase for estates over £50,000, the additional revenue is necessary to fund the courts and tribunals systems in the long term.
If you are concerned or have any queries arising from these changes, do get in touch 0800 088 6004