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Sue Nicolson | Proposed Probate Fees

Sue Nicolson provides a further update on proposed probate fees

| Published on July 24, 2019

Sue Nicolson, solicitor at Humphries Kirk in Crewkerne, explains the upcoming increase in proposed probate fees and how it might affect families from in 2019:

You may recall the two previous articles we provided about the imminent probate fee increase, here and here.

The Ministry of Justice announced at the end of March that they had not yet been able to find Parliamentary time for the required approval motion. The matter of Brexit dominated the political agenda after the Easter recess, and more recently the change in Conservative party leadership has made it unclear when this motion will be brought to Parliament.

A new Statutory Instrument is required to change the fees, and there must be 21 days’ notice before it comes into effect. As the required probate fees order has not been scheduled for debate in week commencing 22nd July, the final week before the UK Parliament rises for the summer recess, the order cannot now be debated or passed until Parliament returns from its summer recess on 3rd September.

The Ministry has also extended its temporary easing of the procedure for probate applications in cases where HMRC clearance is required.

Ordinarily, this HMRC clearance is required before a probate application can be made, if it is applicable to an estate. This can add up to five weeks to the application timeline, and with the looming fee increase this had been a concern to both legal professionals and their client families. The Ministry has stated that probate applications can now be made in parallel with the HMRC clearance, which may enable Executors to avoid the increased fee.

However, there continues to be long delays in receiving both HMRC clearance and Grants of Probate/Letters of Administration due to the previous surge in applications ahead of the anticipated fee increase. This increase in applications, coupled with the introduction of a new computer system and the announcement of wholesale closures in

District Probate Registries, has created a ‘perfect storm’ of delay.

Our advice is unchanged by these developments: do not delay, proceed with a probate application as usual; previous announcements have been issued with minimal notice and without fanfare. Whilst there is still some debate about whether the probate charge is genuinely a fee, or instead a tax (and if the latter, then Parliamentary debate and approval is required) the Ministry has confirmed that they will press on with this introduction.

As a reminder, here are the details of the new fees schedule:

 

              Value of estate (before inheritance tax) Fee payable
                Up to £50,000 or exempt from requiring a grant of probate £0
                Exceeds £50,000 but does not exceed £300,000 £250
                Exceeds £300,000 but does not exceed £500,000 £750
                Exceeds £500,000 but does not exceed £1m £2500
                Exceeds £1m but does not exceed £1.6m £4000
                Exceeds £1.6m but does not exceed £2m £5000
                Above £2m £6000

 

 

Proposed Probate Fees | Chart

If you have any questions regarding the proposed probate fees, or any private client matters including Wills, administration of estates, Lasting Powers of Attorney or Court of Protection applications, please contact your local branch of Humphries Kirk for advice.

 

Please view the previous articles here:

Increase in Probate fees from April 2019

Update on the proposed Probate fees in 2019

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