Earlier this year, the Government announced that it was intending to revive its 2017 plans to increase probate application fees. Under those plans, the cost of obtaining a grant of probate would increase dramatically. It was anticipated that the proposed changes would see around 56,000 families face bills of between £2,500 and £6,000. This was a considerable increase from the current regime where a flat fee of £155 is charged for an estate valued at £5,000 or more where a solicitor is instructed to apply for the grant.
Following consultation and several campaigns against the proposals, the Government has now revised its position saying that probate fees will now be reviewed as part of an annual assessment of charges in family and civil courts. In the meantime, it is understood that the existing fee structure will continue to apply.
The news that the fees will not increase, in the short term at least, will be a welcome relief for many as concern had been raised that the increased fees added extra burden at an already difficult time and that the rise of property prices meant that many estates would be liable for higher fees.
Losing a loved one is a difficult time both emotionally and financially. It’s important to think about how you would like your will and personal finances to be structured to ensure your assets are protected and your wishes are known.