Sir James Munby writes to MoJ in support of increased probate fees

Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division at the High Court has written to the Ministry of Justice in support of the proposed probate fees reform.

The proposed regime includes a potential huge increase in fees, proportionate the the size of the estate the applicant stands to inherit.

Writing on behalf of the Judicial Executive Board, Sir James Munby said: “We support the proposal to move to a fee structure which is proportionate to the value of the estate. As the consultation points out this would be a return to the fee regime which applied in probate between 1981 and 199. In our view the proportionate approach is fairer and more progressive than a flat fee and we were surprised that a flat fee structure was introduced in 1999 – this felt like a retrograde step at the time.

“We also support the proposals to increase the threshold beyond which a fee is payable from £5,000 to £50,000 as a sensible means of lifting smaller estates out of the fee regime altogether so ensuring that those of modest means are not burdened by these fee increases.

“It would not be appropriate for the judiciary to comment upon the proposals on the quantum of fees as this is a matter for the executive.”

The consultation states the new regime will lift 30,000 estates out of paying fees as well as raise £250 million for the exchequer, in return for £700 million investment in the courts over the next five years.

The consultation closed on 1st April, with Sir Munby’s letter dated 14th March.

Today's Wills and Probate