The lawyers in our trusts and estates department are pleased that the uncertainty over the increase in probate court fees has ended following the recent announcement from the Ministry of Justice that the fees would not be increased. The proposed hike in fees was due to start in April but was delayed due to lack of Parliamentary time to pass the statutory instrument needed to implement the increase. This caused many of our clients additional stress during a difficult time because they wanted to beat the fee hike.
Currently the fixed fee is £215 for a personal application or £155 through a solicitor. The increased fees would have been based on the value of the estate with £6,000 being charged for an estate over £2 million. An estate of between £500,001 – £1 million would have been subject to a fee of £2,500.
The Law Society campaigned against the fee increase and has welcomed the announcement.
The President of the Law Society Simon Davis said: ‘A hike in probate fees would have been a tax on grief. We campaigned vigorously against the increase on behalf of bereaved families and are relieved the government has listened to reason.
‘It is inherently unfair to expect the bereaved to fund other parts of the courts and tribunal service when they have no other option but to apply for probate.
‘In its review of court fees government should bear in mind that it is a false economy to impose charges that go beyond cost recovery. Equal access to justice is a fundamental part of the rule of law.’
The Ministry of Justice has said that the fees will be looked at again as part of a general review of all court fees.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.