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Government says reforms would improve efficiency and generate around £300m.

The government has responded to the consultation ‘to reform fees for grants of probate’. It expects that these changes should be one step ahead to increase efficiency and deliver a better service to the taxpayer, while at the same time generating an additional income of around £300m.

So how would this goal be achieved?

1. An increase in the probate fee threshold from £5,000 to £50,000 means that 58% of estates would be exempt from fee for a probate application.

2.  The fees will be implemented on a banded structure, increasing in line with estate values as below:

Value of estate (before IHT) Proposed fee
Up to £50,000 or exempt from requiring a grant of probate £0
£50,000        >  £300,000 £300
£300,000      >  £500,000 £1,000
£500,000      > £1,000,000 £4,000
£1,000,0000 > £1,600,000 £8,000
£1,6000,000 > £2,000,000 £12,000
Above £2,000,000 £20,000

As there is a disproportionate increase in the probate fee on larger estates, a mixed response has been received.

It is estimated that round 62% of estates use a solicitor and so the probate registry performs a purely administrative role, the value of the estate having no bearing on the work undertaken. Therefore this fee increase might be seen as simply another form of taxation.

Probate fees will be removed from the general fee remissions scheme, but provision will remain for exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the Lord Chancellor.

Article from ACCA In Practice