The government is again set to press ahead with plans to significantly increase probate fees which will affect many bereaved families when dealing with the administration of an estate of a deceased.
At present a flat fee of £155, if you are applying through a solicitor, or £215 for individuals, is charged for making an application for probate. The flat fee arrangement is due to be replaced with a sliding scale of fees. If the value of an estate is below £50,000 there will be no fee to pay but if the estate value is above £50,000 the range of fees payable will be between £250 up to a maximum of £6,000.
One of the justifications for the rise is that in the region of 25,000 estates will be below the £50,000 threshold and will not pay any fee and it is estimated that 80% of estates will only pay £750 (estates valued £300,000 – £500,000). Property accounts for the bulk of the financial value of assets in most estates. With high house prices in this area of the country many estates exceed the £500,000 value almost immediately, meaning that the probate fee will be £2,500 and more if the estate exceeds £1m.
The government advises us that the new fee will never be more than 0.5% of the estate’s value, and will be recoverable from the estate. However, they are failing to appreciate the position of the executors and how they will initially pay the probate fees. Although the money can be recovered from the estate, as assets are frozen until the executors receive the grant of probate there will be an upfront cost to meet.
Beers LLP are happy to offer assistance to executors with the administration process however complex the estate, call us on 01548 857000 to discuss how we can help.
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