Government plans to make significant increases to probate fees were announced in November 2018, and were due to take effect in April 2019.
The planned increases have not yet happened, due to a lack of parliamentary time, and it remains unclear when the changes will take effect.
Whilst the Labour Party had previously indicated that they would try and force a House of Commons vote on the changes (which they oppose), the government has said that the legislation has already been debated in committee and that an approval motion will be brought with no House of Commons vote.
Once the legislation is approved, the changes will come into effect 21 days from the date of approval. It is possible, therefore, that the changes could come into effect in June.
If the probate fee increases are not implemented before Parliament’s summer recess in July/August, there will be a further delay until at least September, when the next parliamentary session begins.
As probate practitioners and executors had previously been working towards a deadline of April 2019, there was a surge in applications to the probate registries before April. This surge, and the fact probate registries have been implementing a new digital system at the same time, has meant there are now significant delays in grants of probate being issued.
Whilst the likely date of the changes remains uncertain, executors and probate practitioners will be doing all they can to lodge their probate applications at the earliest possible stage, to ensure they remain within the old fee scale.