Obtaining a Grant of Probate from the court to deal with a deceased's affairs has long been fixed at either £155 or £215, for any estate worth more than £5,000. The Ministry of Justice now wants to increase these fees to as much as £20,000 for those with the biggest estates.
This hike in costs is an attempt to raise £250,000 for the courts service.
On the flip side, however, this increase will in turn mean that the threshold for payment is raised to £50,000, meaning that most people will pay less for obtaining a Grant. Current figures predict that 57% of estates will not reach this threshold.
Court fees will increase incrementally depending on the value of the deceased's estate. For example, estates worth between £50,000 and £300,000 will have to pay £300, whilst those worth between £1 million and £1.6 million will have to pay £8,000. The maximum fee of £20,000 will be payable by estates worth over £2 million.
It is possible that the fees will have to be paid on both the first and second death of each of a married couple, meaning that up to £40,000 could be charged on a marital estate.
The Government will consult on the proposals between now and April.
The above is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.
If you require further information on this or other related issues please contact Lisa Carter on 01245 228127 or email firstname.lastname@example.org