Unpopular probate changes resulting in additional costs

Estates with a value in excess of £2million face £20K in probate fees, with new changes to go ahead with effect from May 2017.

At the end of February 2017 we have seen confirmation of a major change in the level of Probate fees to be levied when applying to the Courts for the Grant of Probate.  A Consultation document was issued last February 2016 setting out the proposed changes.  Despite almost 98% of 831 respondents disagreeing with the proposed changes, the Ministry of Justice have still put the proposed changes in place with effect from May 2017.  The changes have introduced a tiered charge for probate fees, as a replacement of the current single fee charge regardless of the estate value.  This will have a large impact for estates with a value in excess of £2million who will be faced with probate fees of £20,000.

The positive from the changes is that estates valued at below £50,000 will be exempt from requiring a grant of probate, which represents an increase from the current £5,000 threshold.  The Ministry of Justice believes that this increase will result in 58% of all estates in England and Wales falling beneath the new threshold.

Further details will come out in due course which will provide a clearer picture of the impact on estates, however, for our client base at Randall & Payne, it is likely to have a major impact on the passing of assets to surviving spouses or children in the future if they are to face a large charge from the Ministry of Justice.

If you have any queries or concerns on this and would like to discuss them further please contact our Private Client team which is headed up by Trish Clements, who is a Chartered Tax Adviser and Trust and Estate Practitioner.  Trish has wide ranging experience in dealing with individuals’ affairs and tailoring advice to the individual’s personal needs.