A Ministry of Justice (MoJ) proposal will result in a sharp rise in probate fees and potentially significant cash flow problems for bereaved families, reports The Telegraph.
Currently, a flat fee of £215 is paid for the Grant of Probate regardless of the size of estate. However, under proposed legislation, a sliding scale of fees will be introduced resulting in probate fees of up to £20,000 for estates worth more than £2 million.
The probate fee, along with other expenses such as a funeral costs, must be paid up front prior to any money from the estate being released. It has been suggested that families may struggle to meet this additional cost, particularly if the estate consists of non-liquid assets such as property that could take months to sell.
Tom Curran, Chief Executive of Kings Court Trust, said; “We have highlighted that this proposal could result in ordinary families facing significant additional costs at a time of great stress. With funerals alone costing an average of £4,000, the increase in probate fees could cause cash flow issues for families at a time when they could have significant bills to pay. At Kings Court Trust we are aware that many estates are likely to have more than the necessary assets to meet these costs but that they may be tied up in assets such as property and investments. Our comprehensive estate administration service can offer families access to money up front to cover expenses such as funeral costs before the assets in the estate are realised. We would then reclaim this money back from the estate at a later date so that the family doesn’t need to worry about meeting these costs out of their own pocket.”
The Government hopes to raise £250m a year through the revised pricing structure and claim that the “proposals would lift 30,000 estates out of paying the probate fee altogether”. However, it has been pointed out that with increasing property values pushing up the value of many estates, more ‘ordinary’ families will now be subject to higher charges than ever before.
Kings Court Trust offers a comprehensive estate administration service for a guaranteed fixed fee. For more information on our services or if you have any questions relating to the estate administration process, contact our client services team on Freephone 0300 303 9000.