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How will new probate court fees affect your family?
The government has announced huge rises in the probate court fees which are charged upon an application for a grant of representation when an individual dies.
Obtaining a grant of representation is the process by which someone is given the authority to deal with the property, money and possessions of a person after they die.
A grant of representation is sought by the executor of a will or the appropriate person authorised by law to obtain a grant where there is no will. Not all estates need to obtain a grant of representation. The need depends on the value of the estate and the nature of the assets held within it.
The current court fee is £215. From May 2017, this flat fee will be replaced with a new system of tiered charges which will result in a court fee of as much as £20,000 for an estate worth more than £2m.
The new probate court fees are as follows:
- £300 for estates worth more than £50,000 and up to £300,000
- £1,000 for estates worth more than £300,000 and up to £500,000
- £4,000 for estates worth more than £500,000 and up to £1m
- £8,000 for estates worth more than £1m and up to £1.6m
- £12,000 for estates worth more than £1.6m and up to £2m
- £20,000 for estates worth more than £2m
The government is, however, proposing to raise the value of estates for which a grant of representation is required from £5,000 to £50,000.
These fees need to be paid before any funds can be released from an estate. It will, therefore, be necessary to ask the deceased’s bank or building society to release funds or for an executor to pay the fees and reclaim the fee when funds can be released from an estate.
If there are no funds in a bank or building society account, as the main asset of the estate is a house, or if an executor cannot pay the fees then it may be necessary for a loan to be taken out to pay the fees.
Although the change is set to take place in May, no date has yet been set for introduction of the new fees. It is expected, however, that many families will find themselves unexpectedly hit by the higher charges after a family member has passed away.
Tozers’ Wealth Management Team responded to the government’s consultation when these changes were proposed last year and are very disappointed to learn that the industry’s concerns have been ignored. Any family who has recently suffered a bereavement must consider whether these changes will affect them. Please do contact Tozers’ Wealth Management Team should you need assistance with these changes.
For further advice please contact our specialist Wealth Management team on: 01392 207020 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions regarding this article or any other questions contact our probate solicitors by using the contact details above.