In March 2019, it was announced that the statutory instrument bringing the revised probate fee scheme into force would be delayed. HM Courts & Tribunals Service has published more information on what practitioners should be doing until the scheme is implemented.
The Non-Contentious Probate Fees Order 2018 (Fees Order) is subject to an approval motion in the House of Commons, after which the order will be made. The new fee system will be implemented 21 days after the order is made.
As the approval motion has not yet taken place, the proposed fee structure could not be implemented by 1 April as originally planned. Subject to the approval motion, we will announce a date for implementation of the new fees in due course.
On 23 May, the House of Commons closed for its summer recess. The Fees Order may have to wait until autumn 2019 before it returns to the agenda in parliament.
The fee that you pay will depend on the value of the estate that passes under the grant of probate. No fee will ever amount to more than 0.5% of the estate’s value.
Value of estate (before inheritance tax)
Up to £50,000 or exempt from requiring a grant of probate
£50,000 - £300,000
£300,000 - £500,000
£500,000 - £1m
£1m - £1.6m
£1.6m - £2m
The new fees will apply to all applications received by the Probate Service on or after the implementation date of the new fees, irrespective of the date of death. Any full application (discussed in question 5) received within working hours of the Probate Registry before the implementation date will be charged the current fee.
The exact date of implementation remains subject to the approval of the necessary legislation by Parliament, but will be confirmed in due course.
Until the new fees are in place, it will be possible for you to submit the appropriate forms to both HMRC and HMCTS Probate simultaneously. As long as the full application for probate (discussed in question 5) is received by the Probate Service before implementation of the new fee scheme, the existing fee will be charged.
You should be aware that the case will not progress and the grant will not be issued until the IHT form is submitted. The Probate Service will not issue a grant until the approved IHT 421 is received, but they will mark the application as lodged as long as the full application is submitted.
To assist the Probate Service in not raising this as a query, it would be advisable to indicate in a covering letter to your application that the IHT document will follow after assessment.
Unfortunately, the Probate Service is only able to accept applications pending the IHT forms for applicants applying through the paper route. You will not be able to apply through the digital channels unless you have the complete application.
A full application for probate purposes must include:
Upon receipt of an application in this form prior to commencement of the new fee scheme, the existing fee will be charged.
Settlers and pre-lodgements submitted for checking are not considered as full applications. Applications must be submitted in full before implementation for the old fees to apply. Submissions received after the implementation of the new fees will result in the new fees being applied.
Applicants will only be able to submit the form without the relevant IHT form until the date on which the new fee is implemented. If a fee is paid for a grant of probate under the old system, then there is no need to pay another fee once the IHT documents are received.