Cartridges Law have welcomed the Government’s decision to scrap its plan to increase probate fees.
The proposals would have seen the current flat fee of £215 being replaced with a sliding scale, which would have meant that higher value estates would have been charged higher fees, with a maximum charge of £6,000 for estates worth £2million or more.
But the Government announced this week that the proposed new charging structure would be scrapped and probate fees will now be reviewed as part of the annual assessment of charges in family and civil courts. This means that fees will remain at £215 for estates over £5,000, or £155 if people apply through a solicitor.
When someone dies, their property, money and possessions are known as their estate. An executor of a will has to pay probate fees to the court for the ‘grant of probate’ which provides their authority to administer the estate. If the deceased has not made a will an administrator must apply for a ‘grant of letters of administration’. A Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is needed in many estates in order to begin administering the estate. Depending on how the assets of an estate are held, it is possible that the executor may have to pay a court fee in order to deal with an estate.
Karyna Squibb, associate legal executive at Cartridges Law, said: ‘We welcome the news that this proposed increase in probate fees has been scrapped. It would have meant that an executor could have been forced to pay as much as £6,000 in probate fees.
‘Of course, these fees could be claimed from the estate once matters are settled, but people could have been out of pocket for many weeks, and if they had a property to sell it could be many months. With the current delays and backlog of work at the Probate Registry it is taking on average 8 – 12 weeks for a grant to be received.