Probate increases from April

Many families will have to pay more for probate from next April, following fee increases by the Ministry of Justice.

The cost of securing legal control over a family member’s estate after they’ve passed away will increase in April 2019, with a lot of families set to pay more than the current £155 to £215 fees. Around 56,000 families are likely to face probate costs of between £2,500 and £6,000.

Currently families pay £155 for probate if they go through a solicitor, or £215 if they do it themselves. From April next year all estates worth more than £50,000 will have to pay a higher fee to secure probate.

Estates worth between £50,000 and £300,000 will face the £250 fee, then a fee of £750 will apply to estates worth between £300,001 and £500,000 and a fee of £2,500 will apply to estates worth from £500,001 to £1 million. The highest fee of £6,000 will be applied to estates worth over £2 million.

Philip Armstrong, Partner and Head of Wills, Trust and Probate at Jones & Co Solicitors, said: “Executors have to apply for probate and pay the fee up-front before they can administer a loved one’s finances. It is likely many people will have to take a loan out to cover this fee, and then reclaim it from the estate once probate has been granted.

Probate fees were always intended to cover the cost of providing the service, and not as a source of tax revenue. These fee increases will be seen by many as a kind of death tax, and an additional tax on top of inheritance tax.

“Although these fees cannot be easily avoided, it is worth taking professional advice at the time of making a will, to ensure that you have the best possible arrangements in place. Knowing that you have taken good legal and financial advice will make a difference and could save a great deal of stress for your loved ones when they come to deal with your estate.”

For more advice please visit your nearest Jones & Co Solicitors branch in Bawtry, Ollerton, Harworth or Retford, or contact us here.