Probate Fees to increase – a ‘stealth’ tax in every sense?

On 5 November and quite out of the blue, the junior Justice Minister Lucy Fraser announced that a new statutory instrument had been laid before Parliament to implement a new banded structure of fees for a grant of probate. Although the new fees are lower than those proposed in 2017 they still represent a considerable increase on the current fees of £155 (if the probate application is made by a solicitor ) or £215 (if by an individual) on estates valued at over £5,000.

The new fee structure  will be based on the value of the estate as follows:

Estate Value

Proposed Fee

Up to £50,000


>£50,000 < £300,000


 >£300,000 < £500,000


>£500,000 < £1m


>£1m < £1.6m


>£1.6m < £2m





The Government has said the new fees will come into effect in April 2019 and are necessary to support the courts and tribunal service as a whole. But the fact that the proposed increase was not announced in the Budget has led to accusations that the government is trying to bring this in by the back door and that the new fees are nothing more than a stealth tax on the bereaved.