Humphries Kirk comments on the upcoming rise in probate fees

Sue Nicolson
Sue Nicolson

Sue Nicolson, solicitor at Humphries Kirk, explains the upcoming increase in probate fees and how it might affect families from April 2019.

“My usual advice to a recently-bereaved family is to focus on organising their loved one’s funeral first, to take some time to catch their breath and only then to deal with the paperwork for settling any assets. However, the imminent increase in Probate fees means that any delay could have financial repercussions.

“A ‘Grant of Probate’ may be required to deal with an estate, depending on the type and size of the assets involved. The fee charged by the government for this process is currently a fixed sum, but it will soon be moving to a sliding scale of payments, based on the total value of the estate assets. The change will happen sometime in April, with little notice.

“The good news is that estates worth less than £50,000 will be exempt, which the government estimates to be rather more than half of them. The downside is that the fees payable on large estates will increase considerably, according to the schedule below.

“With this in mind, should a family member die in the next couple of weeks and they owned assets solely within an estate exceeding £50,000 and requiring probate, I would recommend proceeding as soon as possible. Note that if inheritance tax is payable, then unfortunately it is likely to be too late to avoid the increased probate fees: the tax must be processed by HMRC before probate can be granted, and that usually takes them four weeks.”

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