The House of Lords has approved the draft legislation that will bring into effect significant increases to probate fees but has added an amendment expressing “regret” at an apparent misuse by the Lord Chancellor’s Department of its fee levying power. The amendment stated that “this order represents a significant move away from the principle that fees for a public service should recover the cost of providing it and no more”.
The Probate Service, which is part of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, currently covers its own costs for issuing grants of probate by charging fees of £155 for applications by solicitors and £215 for applications by individuals. The proposed increases will see fees rise to between £250 and £6,000, depending on the value of the estate. The increased revenue generated (estimated at £145million a year) will be used to benefit the courts service as a whole.
The next step is for the legislation to be formally approved by the House of Commons. The criticism by the Lords and two Parliamentary committees will put some pressure on the government to shelve the proposals. A previous plan proposing an even more onerous fees structure was pulled in 2017 before the general election.
For more information on the proposed increases to probate fees and what this will mean for you, please visit the Contentious probate page.