Executors sometimes have no choice but to apply for a grant of probate to be able to access assets from an estate and up until the new rates come into force, the size of the estate has no bearing on the fee charged.
Currently there is a flat fee of £155 if the application is made through a Solicitor or £215 if made personally.
These increased fees have been highlighted as another stealth tax - an easy way for the Government to raise funds without generating the negative headlines that an increase in Inheritance Tax (IHT) rates might produce. High value estates will see the greatest increase in fees, with families having to front these costs before the assets of the estate are realised. However, the risk of these changes is that many families may not be aware of the fees until after a death when it will be too late to consider any funding options.
These changes could cause significant financial strain for executors who will have to pay the probate fee before they have access to the estate’s assets. This could lead to some taking on a considerable amount of personal financial risk to raise these funds, which could cause delays with the grant and ultimately the distribution of the assets to the beneficiaries.
The only good thing that has come out of these changes is that estates of less than £50,000 will be exempt from Probate Court fess altogether. If a Grant is required the new fees are as follows:-
We would like to let you know that we strongly object to this arbiter increase in fees and we are making representation to our local MP as are many others in our profession.