On 22 July 2019, HM Courts & Tribunals Service released revised probate fees including costs for applications and additional copies of the Grant of Representation. Although the cost of the application has not changed, any additional copies will now be charged at £1.50 per copy, rather than the 50p that was previously charged.
The rise in the fee for additional copies is a substantial increase which equates to a significant mark-up per copy. Families applying for the Grant of Representation will typically need to order additional copies to give to organisations that are holding the deceased’s assets. Some organisations will need to see the Grant before releasing any funds. It is advisable to order sufficient copies when sending the application to the Probate Registry. Additional copies include:
- Official sealed copies of the Grant of Representation ordered at the time of application.
- Sealed and certified copies of the Will and Grant. They may be required if any assets are held overseas.
- Additional copies ordered after the Grant of Representation has been issued. This may include a copy of the Grant and the Will, if applicable.
The new probate fees document outlines how individuals will continue to be charged £215 for applications when the net estate is over £5,000. If the net estate is under £5,000 then no fee will be charged.
Back in November 2018, it was announced that new legislation to implement a new, banded structure of probate fees had been presented before Parliament. Despite the proposed changes to probate fees being on the cards for so long, the introduction of higher fees is yet to come into action.
The probate fees order has still not been scheduled for debate in the House of Commons and as of the 25th of July 2019, the House of Commons adjourned for summer recess. Parliament will return on the 3rd of September 2019 and the legislative debate is yet to appear on the agenda. It’s still unclear when the probate fees order debate will take place and there’s unlikely to be any developments until at least September 2019 when UK Parliament returns.
If the proposal is passed by Parliament, the current flat fee could become tiered fees based on the value of the deceased’s estate. The tiered fees would start from £250 and could reach up to £6,000. Additionally, the current estate value threshold would be raised from £5,000 to £50,000, which could mean that every year approximately 25,000 estates may avoid probate fees.
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