At Curtis Whiteford Crocker Solicitors, we keep a close eye on legislative changes and how they might impact our customers, so that we can provide them with comprehensive and up-to-date legal advice. As such, we understand that the increase to probate fees that was first proposed by the government at the start of the year has been a subject of consternation for many of our clients. It brings us great delight, then, to report that the proposed increase has now been scrapped. The announcement came from Justice Secretary Robert Buckland this October, and it’s one that we welcome as we’re sure our clients will.
The proposed fees- how much would they have cost you?
The proposed fees would have resulted in a sizeable expense, right at a time when grieving families were already dealing with the deceased funeral costs and the logistics of dealing with the estate of a lost loved one. Indeed, some families could have been faced with costs of up to £6,000 under the proposed new fees. Let’s take a look at what the fees would have been depending on the value of the deceased’s estate;
- Up to £50,000- No fee
- £50,000-£300,000- £250 fee
- £300,000-£500,000- £750 fee
- £500,000-£1m- £2,500 fee
- £1m-£1.6m- £4,000 fee
- £1.6m-£2m- £5,000 fee
- More than £2m- £6,000 fee
As our clients might expect, we joined many of our colleagues in the legal profession in some serious criticism of the proposed fees. Many legal experts thought it improper and insensitive to tax grieving families so heavily at such a vulnerable time, with President of the Law Society Simon Davis calling it a “tax on grief”.
The government thankfully saw sense and scrapped the fees. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice said:
“Fees are necessary to properly fund our world-leading courts, but we have listened carefully to concerns around changes to those charged for probate and will look at them again as part of a wider review to make sure all fees are fair and proportionate.”
Many in the legal profession have criticised the recklessness of the government’s announcement of the proposed fees earlier this year. As many within the profession expected, it led to a flood of attempts to complete probate applications before the charges came into effect, resulting in significantly increased turnaround times.
Probate fees under review
The scrapping of the fees is a welcome announcement. The flat rate for Grant of Probate of £215 for lay applicants and £155 for solicitors is still in place. However, it’s worth remembering that the probate fees are still under review, so this may be subject to change in the coming months. With a general election just around the corner, it will be interesting to see what effect the result of the election will have on probate fees.