Probate court fees.
Sadly, the government is going ahead to increase probate court fees, yet again, following a brief public consultation which was effectively a waste of time and money.
Probate Court Fees: Current Rates as at July 2014
Probate Court fee in all cases where the net estate is over £5,000 (ie the amount remaining in the deceased’s sole name after funeral expenses and debts owing have been taken off) (see example 1 below). These fees are as at July 2014.
Probate Court fee £215.
Note: Joint assets passing automatically to the surviving joint owner should not be included when calculating the fee.
If the net estate as above is under £5,000 (see example 2 below) then
Probate Court fee: NO FEE.
Application for a second grant in an estate where a previous grant has been issued.
Probate Court fee: £20.
Official (sealed) copies of the Grant of Representation if ordered when you lodge your application for a Grant of Representation.
Probate Court fee: 50p per copy.
Note: You should decide how many copies you will need and add the cost to your application fee – this will give you the total amount payable. See examples below. It can save you a lot of time when collecting in the deceased’s assets if you have a few extra copies of the grant to produce to the organisations holding the assets.
‘Sealed and certified copy’ – if assets are held abroad you may need one or more of these. Please check with the appropriate organisations before ordering.
Probate Court fee: 50p per copy (including Will and Grant).
Additional copies (consisting of grant including a copy of the Will, if applicable) ordered after the Grant of Representation has been issued.
Probate Court fee: £10 for first copy then 50p per additional copy.
You should state the number and type of copies you need on the checklist on page 4 of the PA1 (application form). Please print the name of the deceased person on the back of the cheque. Please ensure you order sufficient copies for your needs, when you send in your application.
Please note: appropriate post must be paid. Standard rate postage may not be sufficient. If your forms weigh over 60g they may need to be weighed at your local Post Office.
Probate Court Fee Refunds/Remissions.
If you consider that you would suffer financial hardship if you pay a court fee you can apply for remission (or if you have already paid a fee a refund of that fee or part thereof). If you wish to make such an application you should ask a member of the Registry staff to supply you with form EX160 (including form EX160A). Please note that fee exemption, as described in that booklet, does not apply with regard to non-contentious probate fees. Your application will not processed until the fee is paid (or an application for refund/remission has been successful).
Example 1 of Probate Court fees.
Net estate of £75,000.
4 copies of grant at 50p each = Fee £215
Total Probate Registry Fee £217.
Example 2 of Probate Court fees:
Net estate of £2,000.
1 copy of grant at 50p each = Fee Nil = Fee 50p.
Total Probate Registry Fee 50p.
With fees constantly under review, you should always check the fees are correct at that time. Just ring your local Probate Court Office and they will advise you.
The Ministry of Justice attempts to justify the increase by saying that in many instances the fees will be met from the estate of the deceased, while fee discounts are available for some who are unable to afford fees.
Proposed probate fee increases.
Below £50,000 was £215 – a reduction.
£50,001-£300,000 Proposed probate fee £300 increase of £85.
£300,001-£500,000. Proposed probate fee £1,000 an increase of £785.
£500,001-£1m Proposed probate fee £4,000 an increase of £3,785.
£1,000,001-£1.6m Proposed probate fee £8,000 an increase of £7,785.
£1,600,001-£2m Proposed probate fee £12,000 an increase of £11,785.
Above £2m Proposed probate fee £20,000 an increase of £19,785.
Fees currently raise £46m, but the proposed fee increases would raise an extra £256m a year for the courts service. In effect, the fees are a stealth tax which will have gone up around 2,000% in just 3 years.