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Humphries Kirk offers advice following the Ministry of Justice’s announcement on probate fees

| Published on November 13, 2018

The Ministry of Justice announced its plan to increase probate application fees on bigger estates on Monday November 5.

In a written statement, justice minister Lucy Frazer commented that under a new banded structure the maximum fee will be £6,000, payable on estates worth more than £2 million. These plans have been resurrected by the government, as they were previously dropped ahead of the 2017 general election.

Following the announcement, Laura Staples of Humphries Kirk based in Crewkerne, commented: “There was a lot of discussion and disapproval over the increase in probate court fees when they were previously proposed. This latest announcement shows that whilst the Ministry of Justice are intent on pushing ahead with their proposals, they recognise that they cannot penalise grieving families to the same extent as they wished. The fact remains that these fees will have an impact on executors who have to find the money to pay this fee before the Grant of Probate can be issued.

“At Humphries Kirk we would be happy to discuss the impact of these proposals with you and look to ways in which you can plan to assist those left behind, when the time comes.”

The new legislation laid before Parliament plans to introduce a banded fee structure for grants of probate and a proposal to revise fees so that they will never be more than 0.5% of the value of the estate. The proposal sets out to raise the estate value threshold from £5,000 to £50,000, to lift around 25,000 estates annually out of fees altogether. For those that do pay, around 80% of estates will pay £750 or less and all income raised will be spent on running the courts and tribunal service.

Included in the Minister’s written statement to Parliament, was: “This new banded fee model represents a fair and more progressive way to pay for probate services compared to the current flat fee and reflects our commitment to protecting access to justice by ensuring we have a properly funded and resourced courts system. We are also confident these fees will never be unaffordable. The cost of the fee is recoverable from the estate and executors have several options to fund it. Moreover, the Lord Chancellor retains a power to remit a fee if he considers there are exceptional circumstances.”

Humphries Kirk has offices in Bournemouth, Parkstone, Poole, Swanage, Wareham, Dorchester and Crewkerne and has an international network of lawyers. Visit www.hklaw.eu for further information.

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