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Massive increases in probate charges on large estates on the horizon

Sydney Mitchell LLP

New Legislation has been put before Parliament which, if implemented, would introduce a new banded charging scheme for fees for obtaining a grant of Representation, reports Lucy Bluck, Senior Solicitor at Sydney Mitchell LLP.

At the moment, families pay a flat fee on estates worth over £5,000.

Under the present scheme an application by an individual costs £215 and by a solicitor £155, however a new tariff is to be introduced imminently which will see the fee for estates of more than £2 million rise to £6,000

The new scheme has been decided upon by the Government after the 2016 consultation produced a majority of more than 90 per cent against the proposal to link the cost to the value of the estate.

Back in April 2017 plans to change the application fees were shelved but are now back on the agenda albeit in a slightly different format.

On the plus side, those with smaller estates will benefit from the estate value below which no fee is charged rising from £5,000 to £50,000.

The proposals are expected to remove 30,000 estates annually from the charge for probate, but to raise an additional £250 million overall.

The fees will depend on the amount the estate is worth:

• Estates worth less than £50,000 will pay nothing, meaning estates worth between £5,000 and £50,000 will save £215 compared to the current system

• Estates worth from £50,000 up to £300,000 will pay £250, a rise of £35

• Estates worth from £300,000 up to £500,000 will pay £750, a rise of £535

• Estates worth from £500,000 up to £1 million will pay £2,500, a rise of £2,285

• Estates worth from £1 million up to £1.6 million will pay £4,000, a rise of £3,785

• Estates worth from £1.6 million up to £2 million will pay £5,000, a rise of £4,785

• Estates worth more than £2 million will pay £6,000, a rise of £5,785

To discuss how to make sure as much of your estate as possible goes to those you would like to benefit from it, you should speak to your Solicitor or contact Lucy or a member of our Private Client Team who would be only too pleased to help.