Despite overwhelming objection in response to its ‘consultation’ on the subject, Government has now announced a new structure for probate fees effective from May 2017. The fees will be implemented as set out below:
|Value of estate (before inheritance tax)||Proposed Fee|
|Up to £50,000 or exempt from requiring a grant of probate||£0|
|Exceeds £50,000 but does not exceed £300,000||£300|
|Exceeds £300,000 but does not exceed £500,000||£1,000|
|Exceeds £500,000 but does not exceed £1m||£4,000|
|Exceeds £1m but does not exceed £1.6m||£8,000|
|Exceeds £1.6m but does not exceed £2m||£12,000|
Given that the current fee is £155 (plus 50p for each additional copy of the Grant), this is an unprecedented increase and is being seen as a new tax on estates. The regulations are not yet published. The Government expects that the executors of the estate will be able to pay the fees by raising money from bank accounts, taking a loan (if available) or finding someone (who?) willing to provide the funds until the estate is wound up and property is sold to provide cash.
The consultation response raised many serious concerns and questions about the proposals but in essence the response was ignored – a complete waste of time for all who put in the time and effort to comment.
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