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Update to new Probate Court Costs – March 2019
Awaiting a Decision
With no final word on the date for introduction of probate court fees as noted in our article last year (below), but February saw a request to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to invetsigate the planned reforms in light of their controversial and punitive nature. The LEBC Group said that the changes would cause ‘hardship and distress’ to the bereaved.
After the House of Commons’ Fourteenth Delegated Legislation Committee voted by nine votes to eight to approve a statutory instrument (SI) applying a sliding scale of charges based on the value of estates rather than a flat fee, we await the result of the presentation of the SI before the House of Commons where, unless a formal objection is raised and voted on, this will pass into law. The changes are still scheduled to come into force in April.
The row over the reforms escalated yesterday as opposition politicians accused the government of introducing a new tax through secondary legislation. Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable told the Daily Mail that bringing in changes without proper parliamentary scrutiny is a ‘clear abuse of power’.
Future Changes to Probate Court Costs
A new structure for probate fees, based on the value of the estate, is planned for introduction from April 2019. The proposal has been revised this year and has now been presented to the Houses of Parliament for approval. In light of the significant changes made to the last proposal, we would caveat this information at this stage with a warning that these proposed court fees are not yet set in stone.
The current information suggests that the scale of court fees for estates will be as follows:
|Value of Estate||New Court Fee Estimate|
|less than £50,000||FREE|
|£50,000 – £300,000||£250|
|£300,000 – £500,000||£750|
|£500,000 – £1 million||£2,285|
|£1 million – £1.6 million||£4,000|
|£1.6 million – £2 million||£5,000|
|More than £2 million||£6,000|
Clearly this is a significant increase from the current rates on almost all estates likely to pass through probate, although we have yet to receive confirmation that these bands and rates are now fixed. Please see the link below for the latest announcement: