The new probate registry charges
- AuthorBen Parmenter
The Government is proposing a huge increase in the fee charged to obtain the Grant of Probate. This is required before many deceased person’s estates can be dealt with. Currently, there is a flat fee of £155 when the estate is over £5,000. This reflects the fact that the work required by the Registry is the same whatever the value recorded. However, if the estate is under £5,000, there is no fee payable.
The proposed changes will see the introduction of a banded tariff. The new charges will see an estate in excess of £2M paying a £20,000 fee as apposed to the existing £155. This is a whopping 129-fold increase! Of course most will not leave estates of £2M, but given the rising costs of houses in the South East, an estate valued at £300,000 or even £500,000 is not uncommon. In these cases the new Probate Registry fees will be £1,000 and £4,000 respectively.
The Government is quite clear that this is not about rebalancing of the charge, but simply about raising funds. They estimate this new regime will raise an additional £250M.
These changes come at a time when the new Residential Property Nil Rate Band will give many families the benefit of a reduced Inheritance Tax bill. The phrase “give with one hand and take with the other” springs to mind!