Probate fees update: Could the fees increase be abandoned?
Despite the proposed fees increase which was expected in April 2019, as I write today the fees are still at the same flat rate.
That is £155 or £215 (the lower rate being for those who apply via a solicitor) for a Probate Registry application for all estates over £5,000.
With fees of up to £6,000 looming, when can the rise be expected to bite?
The draft Order containing the fee increases has yet to be approved by the House of Commons. Against a backdrop of Brexit, the draft Order has yet to be scheduled for debate in the Commons. Parliament has just taken its 'Spring Recess', meaning that a debate will not now be scheduled until mid June at the earliest. As noted by the Ministry of Justice, Brexit matters have to take precedence over the draft Order. With this in mind, as well as the Summer Recess for Parliament coming into sight (late July until September), it might be that discussion of the draft Order is pushed further down the line. Furthermore, with the Government in turmoil and the possibility of a General Election on the cards, there is also a slight possibility that the draft Order may be abandoned completely during a leadership change.
Should the Order get approval, at this point the Lord Chancellor has to proceed with the order to start the 21 day 'notice period' running. On the expiry of 21 days, the fee increase will be in force. For full details of the proposed fees please see: https://www.wrigleys.co.uk/news/tax-and-estate-planning/probate-fees-increase-proposal--a-new-tax-on-death/
What action should you take?
If you have experienced a recent bereavement within the family it would be wise to seek legal advice and begin the process of estate administration. At present, it is understood that those applications submitted to the Probate Registry ahead of the fee increase will secure the lower fee. With this in mind, Personal Representative will need to move quickly to gather the information required to complete and obtain the paperwork required to submit a Probate Application and obtain a Grant of Probate.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article further, please contact Kimberley Woodhead or any other member of the private client team on 0113 244 6100.
You can also keep up to date by following Wrigleys private client team on Twitter
The information in this article is necessarily of a general nature. Specific advice should be sought for specific situations. If you have any queries or need any legal advice please feel free to contact Wrigleys Solicitors.