The Ministry of Justice announced this week, their proposals for the introduction of a 'sliding scale' of probate court fees, in contrast to the flat fees currently in place.
The position at the moment is that a flat fee of £215 is payable by individuals who apply for probate directly with the Probate Registry; and £155 for those applying through a solicitor. Estates valued at under £5,000 are currently exempt from paying any fee at all.
The proposals will introduce a system of banded and incremental fees as follows:
|Value Of Estate (Before Inheritance Tax)||Proposed Fee|
|Up to £50,000 fully exempt||£0|
|£50,000 - £300,000||£250|
|£300,000 - £500,000||£750|
|£500,000 - £1m||£2,500|
|£1m - £1.6m||£4,000||£1.6m - £2m||£5,000||Above £||£6,000|
The proposals will have the following effect on fees payable:
- The maximum fee will be £6,000, payable on estates worth more than £2m. This will be a sharp increase from the fee of £155 which is currently payable on estates of this value.
- The fees will never be more than 0.5% of the value of the estate.
- By raising the threshold for paying fees from £5,000 to £50,000, around 25,000 more estates per year will be exempt from paying any fees at all.
- For those estates which will be liable to pay a fee, around 80% of estates will pay £750 or less.
The Ministry of Justice has advised that these proposals and fee increases will enable the court and tribunal system to be modernised and updated, with all income from the increased fees being ring-fenced for use directly for this purpose.
It is anticipated that the changes are due to come in to effect as of April 2019.