The (increasing) Price of Probate

When an individual passes away, most institutions freeze the deceased’s accounts until a Grant of Representation has been obtained by the personal representatives of that estate. A Grant of Representation will be required for purposes such as withdrawing funds, selling or transferring shares and selling a property; this list being non exhaustive. 

At present, in order to process an application for a Grant of Representation, the Probate Registry charges a fee of £155 if made by a solicitor, and £215 if made by an individual. These fees apply to estates worth £5,000 or more. However, this is about to change. 

The Government is scrapping the current ‘fixed fee’ system in exchange for a sliding scale ranging from £250 to £6,000; based on the total value of the deceased’s assets. 

Estates where the total value of assets falls under £50,000 will no longer be charged any fees to obtain such a Grant. The Government anticipates that this will mean an extra 25,000 estates per year won't pay any fees at all. But for estates worth over £50,000 (which most estates containing a property will be), banded fees will be applied. 

The Institute of Legacy Management have stated that they believe the new system could cause charities to lose out on as much as £10,000,000 a year in legacy income through these additional fees. 

Whilst the announcement of fees is an improvement on previous proposals, which started at £300 and soared as high as £20,000, there is no doubt that this new system, due to be enforced in April 2019, will require careful financial planning. 

If you would like to discuss estate planning measures to potentially avoid the need for a Grant of Representation on your estate, please contact your usual contact at Wansbroughs on 01380 733300 or contact us at wealth@wansbroughs.com.

Last updated 26/02/2019