Communities

Law Society Communities

Our communities help you develop in your professional life and make the most out of your Law Society

Find out more

Private Client Section

What is happening with probate fees? HM Courts & Tribunals Service Q&A

  • Print
  • Share
  • Save

Related images

  • probate dictionary definition

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.

Q1. When will the new fees come into force?

The 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.

Q2. What is the new fee structure?

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)

Proposed fee

Up to £50,000 or exempt from requiring a grant of probate

£0

£50,000 - £300,000

£250

£300,000 - £500,000

£750

£500,000 - £1m

£2,500

£1m - £1.6m

£4,000

£1.6m - £2m

£5,000

Above £2m

£6,000

Q3. When will the new fees be implemented – at date of death or date of application?

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.

Q4. I need to complete the HMRC assessment for inheritance tax (IHT) before I apply for probate. Do I have to wait until the IHT is processed before applying for probate and, if so, will I have to pay the new fee?

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.

Q5. What is considered as a full application?

A full application for probate purposes must include:

  • A statement of truth
  • an original will and codicil (where appropriate) endorsed by all commissioners and deponents
  • an Inland Revenue account (with the exception of IHT 400 / 421 where assessment is ongoing and it has been noted on the covering letter that it will follow)
  • all associated documents, including any affidavit evidence required at the time of submission, renunciations and powers of attorneys
  • the appropriate fee.

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.

Q6. How long will you accept applications without the relevant IHT forms?

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.

  • Print
  • Share
  • Save

Benefits of Membership*

Private Client Section renewals

The Private Client Section will provide you with support, advice, networking opportunities and enable the sharing of best practice with peers.

The current Section Engagement programme has been created in consultation with the Section Advisory Committee and will focus on key issues including:

  • NRB Changes
  • LPA Changes
  • Digital Assets
  • Cross Border Tax
  • IPFDA Cases
  • Care Act
  • Elderly Client
  • HMRC Disputes
  • Inheritance Tax
  • Trusts
  • Estate Administration
  • Capital Gains Tax

These issues will be addressed through a range of activities including: workshops, seminars, conferences, webinars, website, e-newsletters, magazines and a LinkedIn group.

*See Section terms and conditions

Join today