Probate fee increase – scrapped!
The government has reversed its decision for a proposed rise in probate fees, meaning the existing fees will apply for the foreseeable future.
We have, over the last nine months, been anticipating a huge increase in probate application fees charged by HM Courts & Tribunal Service to obtain Grants of Representation across England and Wales. The increase could have seen charges rise in certain circumstances from £155 (when an application is made by a solicitor) to £6,000.
The huge rise in fees has been a major contributing factor in the extensive delays that the public and professionals have experienced in obtaining Grants of Representation from their local, or even regional, probate registries. The delays have caused financial loss through the collapse of house sales and hindering access to loved ones’ accounts following their death.
The proposed rise in fees causing all this fuss recently was a re-hash of a previous proposal which caused a large backlash against the government when fees of up to £20,000 were proposed.
Many involved in the estate administration process, including solicitors and accountants, criticised the huge increases as a stealth tax designed to target those going through very difficult times in their lives.
Brexit, and the lack of parliamentary time to scrutinise the amendments to the fees as a consequence of this, caused the increase to be postponed earlier this year. This in turn caused a great deal of uncertainty but a big sigh of relief as members of the public and practitioners alike who felt less pressure to rush through applications before the rise took hold.
Now that the plans have been scrapped, hopefully, probate registries across the country will be able to take stock and begin working through huge back logs of applications currently sitting on their desks.
Please contact our private client team if you have any queries relating to the probate application process.