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Probate fees to rise in May 2024

Posted by Nigel Merchant

The fee for applying for a Grant of Probate in England and Wales is set to rise in May 2024. Currently, it costs £273 per application as per The Non-Contentious Probate Fees Order 2004. The proposed new rate is £300. This will apply to all estates valued over £5,000; estates under this threshold do not have to pay a fee.

Government consultation response

The change to the probate fee follows a consultation held on “Implementing increases to selected court and tribunal fees”. 52 responses to this consultation paper were received, and the Ministry of Justice have analysed these responses.

40% of these respondents disagreed with the general principle of increasing fees, with some feeling that the quality of service provided by HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) does not offer value for money. Additionally, 34 of 52 respondents felt that some of the fees should be removed, with probate fees being one of the top suggestions for removal. Read the full consultation report from the government.

Continuous probate delays

Professional providers of probate services may be surprised by this change due to continuous delays from the Probate Registry. GOV.UK currently advises that probate should be received within 16 weeks – a wait time that almost doubled between April 2022 and April 2023.

At the end of 2023, the Justice Committee launched an inquiry into HMCTS due to extensive concerns about service levels received. This inquiry is ongoing, with oral evidence sessions being held to discuss the submissions received. The key questions raised in their call for evidence were surrounding the Probate Registry’s capacity and resources, their performance measurement and data, technological changes, the experiences of beneficiaries/Executors, and the fees and thresholds. Read more details about the call for evidence, which closed in January 2022. 

However, recent data released by HMCTS has shown a decrease in the time it takes for a Grant to be issued. For December 2023, the average timescale from submission to Grant received was 13.6 weeks, which is a 2.2 week decrease from November 2023.

How the fee increase will affect the probate service

In the consultation, the government recognises that delays have been prominent “as a result of above average volumes of applications since the pandemic”. They state that they have made changes to better support users in completing correct applications, and they are committed to improving the probate service and reducing wait times. 

It is suggested that this increase to the probate fee will help the trajectory of the service and the timescales for receiving a Grant. HMCTS claims that the probate fee increase will go towards “the continued improvement of service delivery”.

The Ministry of Justice invites complaints or comments about the consultation process to be sent via email: mojfeespolicy@justice.gov.uk

Want to find out more about working in partnership with Kings Court Trust to offer your clients and their families award-winning probate and estate administration services? Get in touch today by calling 0333 207 547.


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Author: Nigel Merchant

Nigel Merchant is a Technical Manager at Kings Court Trust, where he has worked for over 15 years. Nigel has conducted over 2,000 family meetings and built up a huge amount of technical knowledge to share with partners and clients. Nigel has a calm and empathetic delivery which helps families at the difficult time of losing a loved one. Previously, Nigel worked at HSBC bank for over 25 years in the branch network, lastly as a Branch Manager and Personal Banking Manager, highlighting that customer service is a key driver for Nigel.

Topics: Probate Fees, Probate Delays