In recent proposals set out by the government, probate fees of up to £20,000 could be payable on the estates of deceased individuals.
Probate fees are currently fixed at £155 (for applications made by legal professionals) or £215 for personal applications.
Under the new proposals, probate fees would be linked to the value of the deceased’s estate, as follows:
The value of the estate Planned fee
Less than £50,000 0
£50,000 to £300,000 £300
£300,000 to £500,000 £1000
£500,000 to £1,000,000 £4000
£1,000,000 to £1,600,000 £8000
£1,600,000 to £2,000,000 £12,000
Above £2,000,000 £20,000
The figures stated above would be in addition to inheritance tax which is currently payable at 40% in relation to net estates above £325,000, subject to fee exemptions such as the charitable exemption and spousal exemption.
Therefore, the proposals are only advantageous to estates with a value of less than £50,000 and substantial estates will be significantly worse off than they are under the current fixed probate fees.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice defended the plans by stating that “changes are also necessary in making a significant contribution to releasing the deficit and enable investment that will transform the Courts and Tribunals Service.” The proposals will be in consultation until April 2016.
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