Return of the Probate Fee Tax in England & Wales

April 2019 sees the introduction of higher application fees to get a Grant of Probate from the Court, so you as the executor of a Will can then start to deal with the deceaseds estate.

This increase was ditched 2 years ago before the last General Election, and although isnt nearly as bad as the first time around, the new tiered fee structure bears no relation to the cost of providing the service, and at present is thought to be unlawful. The most recent example of this was in the Court of Protection where they continue to refund a portion of the application fees people paid to register their Lasting Power of Attorney documents, deemed as over-charged. Nevertheless I am sure they’ll find a way around this, given time!

Currently you pay a flat fee of 215 to get a grant and the new charges are as follows:

The next question is how an executor will fund the fee? It is eerily like having to pay the Inheritance Tax bill on an estate before you can apply for the Grant of Probate, in which case we might see it being labeled as a Probate Tax because thats what it is, undoubtedly another tax on death.

There is no doubt an opportunity for people to move away from using Wills in favour of making lifetime gifts (to family or trusts) or using the survivorship rules of joint property and bank accounts in an attempt to avoid these probate charges.

Sorry to be the bearer of such bad news. I suppose it would be too much to ask for the Government to pull the plug on it a second time around!

If you would like help or guidance with your probate case please get in touch here.

 

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