New probate fees delayed

The government’s proposed huge increase to probate fees, due to take place on 1 April, has been delayed because the necessary legislation has not yet been laid before parliament.

While the uncertainty continues, personal representatives are being allowed to submit their probate applications before HMRC has finished processing their inheritance tax liability.

In November 2018, the government announced increases in probate fees to come into force on 1 April. The increase is being used to fund the courts, not just the cost of dealing with probate applications. Critics slammed the increase as a “stealth tax”. The House of Lords called the proposed rise “an abuse of fee-levying power” and the Labour Party stated that they will attempt to block the increase in fees in parliament.

Phil Atherton, Director of Estate Planning at MHA Carpenter Box, comments:

“Whether or not the proposed fees ever make it onto the statute book, it makes sense to get probate applications in as soon as possible.”

The relaxation of the rules allowing probate applications before HMRC have finalised the IHT position will allow more families to take advantage of the current fees of £215 (£155 if applying via a solicitor).

The proposed fees are set out below:

  • Estates up to £50k: exempt from probate application fees
  • Estates between £50k and £300k: £250
  • Estates between £300k and £500k: £750
  • Estates between £500k to £1m: £2,500
  • Estates between £1m and £1.6m: £4,000
  • Estates between £1.6m and £2m: £5,000
  • Estates above £2m: £6,000

For further information or advice, please contact one of our Estate Planning team on 01903 234094.