Dealing with the death of a loved one, no matter how close you may have been to them, is never an easy process to go through, with or without help. If you have been named as the person who needs to deal with the estate, relationships between people can often go downhill, especially where disagreements arise as to how matters should be dealt with.
In order to deal with a person’s estate it is usually necessary to obtain a “grant of representation” from the Probate Registry. A grant of representation is a legal document which allows a named individual or individuals to administer the estate in accordance with the deceased’s last written will, or under the rules of intestacy if no will was left. The person named on the grant is responsible for ensuring that the deceased’s estate is administered properly.
Whilst the fees for making the application are minimal, the Government has been consulting on an increase to these fees” in order to raise additional revenue and reduce the running costs of tribunal and courts to taxpayers.
At present, a fee is payable for a grant of probate if the value of the estate exceeds £5,000, with the current probate registry fee being £155 if a solicitor applies for the grant of representation or £215 if anyone else is applying for the grant of representation. The new changes increase the threshold before a fee becomes payable from £5,000 to £50,000, allowing many smaller estates to avoid the probate registry fees.
The proposed new fees are as follows:
- £300 for estates worth more than £50,000 up to £300,000;
- £1,000 for estates worth more than £300,000 up to £500,000;
- £4,000 for estates worth more than £500,000 up to £1million;
- £8,000 for estates worth more than £1million up to £1.6million;
- £12,000 for estates worth more than £1.6 million up to £2million; and
- £20,000 for estates exceeding £2million.
It has been argued that the new system is fairer, as the lower value estates (under £50,000) are lifted out of paying probate registry fees altogether, with the more moderate estates (from £50,000 up to £500,000), which make up the highest single proportion of estates, paying between £300 and £1,000.
It is yet to be confirmed if or when these changes will come into force, but for those personal representatives who are yet to progress the administration of an estate these changes could force them into acting sooner than they feel ready to, in order to avoid the increase in prices.