Probate Fees: Update

05 / 06 / 2019

In the last issue of In Trust, we reported that the Government had reintroduced its controversial proposals to increase fees for Probate applications in England and Wales from a flat fee of £155 (£215 if a solicitor is not involved) to a sliding scale of fees ranging from £250 to £6,000 based on the value of the estate. The Government intended for the new fees to apply from April 2019.

However, due to Brexit dominating the Parliamentary agenda, the draft legislation has yet to progress to its final stage, meaning that it will not now be passed until this month at the earliest. There is also a possibility that the reforms will not progress in this Parliamentary session or the Government will be forced to amend its proposals. The new fees have been criticised by Parliamentary Committees and the Labour Party has also indicated that it would vote against them if there is a full Commons vote. The Government, however, appears intent on proceeding.

The uncertainty surrounding Probate fees and reforms at the Probate Registry have resulted in a backlog of Probate applications with reports of delays of over four weeks for Grants of Probates to be issued. This is causing problems for estates where the Grant of Probate is needed to sell property and access assets to pay liabilities.

We are handling Probate work on the basis that the higher fees will be introduced and are expediting applications for Grants of Probates.

We will continue to monitor developments closely. Please contact us for further information.