Proposals to increase probate fees

The Ministry of Justice has launched a consultation on a proposed price increase for probate applications as it seeks to address an £85m deficit in the delivery of services in the family jurisdiction.

Under the proposals, the cost of applying for a grant of probate will rise to a flat fee of £273 for practitioners and the public regardless of the size of the estate. Estates of less than £5,000 would continue to not attract a fee.

The latest statistics shared in the proposal suggest that there are around 270,000 applications for probate every year that are eligible for a fee. Around 60% of those are applications from probate professionals with another 40% from individuals.

The increase would “align the fee payable for probate applications with the cost of providing that service for all users” according to the proposal document. The proposals would aim to fulfil 3 criteria

  • Remove a “now unjustified discrepancy” in the fee structure in charging different entities different prices
  • Recover the costs of processing applications which currently costs HMCTS more than it receives in income
  • Raises an additional £23-25m for HMCTS, in support of the Lord Chancellor’s statutory and constitutional duty to ensure access to justice.

These latest proposals are a far cry from 2019 when a tiered structure dependent on the value of the estate was suggested dubbed a “death stealth tax” at the time.

The closing date for responses is the 13th September with the increase set to be introduced in “early 2022.”

You can read full details of the proposals and impact assessment here:

Today's Wills and Probate