It could get more expensive to die for the wealthy, or less if you are poor. There are proposals to raise the cost of filing for probate substantially for larger estates. It currently costs £215 in Court fees to apply directly for probate, or £155 if filed through a solicitor. That is a flat fee which is the same for everyone, unless the estate is worth less than £5,000 when the charge is zero. But the Ministry of Justice is proposing that new fees will be as much as £20,000 for estates worth more than £2 million. Estates worth less than £50,000 will still be free, taking making estates out of charge, but they will rise on a sliding scale for larger estates until the £20,000 maximum is reached.
The Ministry says that they are not covering the costs of this service, and hence charges need to increase. The typical estate in the south-east of England where the price of houses is often a large proportion of the value of an estate will therefore face sharply rising charges, although that will be offset by the changes to Inheritance Tax that have been announced recently.
For more details and to respond to the public consultation on this matter, go to: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/fee-proposals-for-grants-of-probate
Many ShareSoc Members might be affected by this change, but when you are dead it’s probably only going to be of concern to your inheritors.