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Act now to beat probate fee increases delayed by Brexit

With Parliament so tied up with Brexit it can consider little else, probate fee hikes set to be introduced this month have been postponed giving bereaved families more time to apply while the lower cost limits are still in place.

So consumed has the House of Commons been by Brexit, it has not had time to scrutinise the legislation and crucially, approve the controversial fee increases which must happen before they become law.

With no motion yet scheduled, and the Ministry of Justice announcing only that this will happen as soon as ‘parliamentary time allows’, the delay could be indefinite.

Once the motion is approved, the earliest the fee increase could happen is 21 days later.

And there could be a further delay because Labour has said it will oppose the increases.

Act now

If you are the executor of an estate, you now have more time in which to apply for probate under the current fee system, at a potential saving of thousands of pounds:

  • If you are currently in the process of administering an estate, speed is of the essence as any probate applications submitted between now and the new, yet-to-be-announced deadline should only incur the current fee;
  • If you have been meaning to get around to dealing with the probate of a loved one, now is definitely the time for action, particularly as probate applications can sometimes take months to complete.

Beat the increases

Wards Solicitors is vehemently opposed to the increases, criticised by many as a stealth death tax meaning some families will pay almost £6,000 more than under current rules.

A new sliding scale of charges on estates worth more than £50,000 will see probate fees increase depending on how much the estate is worth:

  • Estates worth from £50,000 to £300,000 – fee rises by £35 to £250;
  • Estates worth from £300,000 to £500,000 – fee rises by £535 to £750;
  • Estates worth from £500,000 to £1 million – fee rises by £2,285 to £2,500;
  • Estates worth from £1 million to £1.6 million – fee rises by £3,785 to £4,000;
  • Estates worth from £1.6 million to £2 million – fee rises by £4,785 to £5,000;
  • Estates worth more than £2 million – fee rises by £5,785 to £6,000.

The majority of Wards Solicitors’ probate team lawyers are either student or full members of SFE. Full members hold the Certificate in Older Client Care in Practice Award. As well as being an SFE director, Jenny Pierce , head of the Wills, Probate and Mental Capacity team, is the regional coordinator for Bristol and Bath and Ruth Coles is Somerset’s regional coordinator. For further help and guidance, please contact Wards Solicitors’ Wills, Probate and Mental Capacity team.

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