Stemming from my previous blog about the possibility of probate fees increasing, the Ministry of Justice has this week announced that the increase will come into force from May 2017. The new fee structure is as follows:
- £300.00 for estates worth more than £50,000 and up to £300,000;
- £1,000 for estates worth more than £300,000 and up to £500,000;
- £4,000 for estates worth more than £500,000 and up to £1 million;
- £8,000 for estates worth more than £1m and up to £1.6 million;
- £12,000 for estates worth more than £1.6m and up to £2 million;
- £20,000 for estates worth more than £2 million.
There was fierce resistance against these proposals during the consultation phase however the proposals have now been passed. Around 98 per cent of 831 respondents to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation process disagreed with the proposals. STEP Chief Executive George Hodgson said: ‘STEP is very disappointed that the Ministry of Justice has decided to ignore the view of both STEP and the overwhelming majority of respondents to this consultation and press ahead with what represents a new tax on bereaved families.’
The Ministry of Justice said the changes represented a “fairer banded system of probate fees, which will mean more than half of estates will pay nothing and 92 per cent will pay no more than £1,000”.
This is a major change in how probate fees are charged and it remains to be seen how families will be able to fund the fees especially in property rich estates where liquid assets may not be available.