Probate fees increase abandoned

Our last item on the probate fees increase reported that the increase had been postponed but the statutory instrument was still in place and the increase could be implemented with a 21-day notice period.

Currently there is a flat fee for obtaining probate of £215 for a personal application and £155 for a solicitor’s application. Following the results of a consultation which overwhelmingly opposed a probate fee based on the size of the estate as it was more akin to a tax than an administrative charge to cover the court costs, the proposal was carried forward. The proposed fee could be as high as £6,000 for the largest estates.

The increase was included in a statutory instrument (SI) so avoided the full scrutiny of parliament. The increase was set to come into effect from April 2019 but was postponed due to lack of parliamentary time but could come into effect 21 days after the Order is made.

The SI fell away on the prorogation of parliament in September but was reinstated when the prorogation was declared illegal. It has now been announced that the increase will not take place, it was not included in the Queen’s speech and instead there will be a review of Court costs and how these can be covered by the actual service required.