Increase in probate fees confirmed

We wrote over a year ago about the government’s proposals to increase probate fees and these changes have recently been confirmed.

The fees will be paid on a sliding scale, starting at £300 for estates valued at between £50,000 and £300,000. Probate fees on estates valued at in excess of £2m will be set at £20,000.

Approximately 58% of estates in England and Wales are valued at £50,000 or less and these will be exempt from any probate fees.

It’s not great news for the ‘squeezed middle’. Those set to inherit the family home worth the UK average of £300,000 will be expected to pay £1,000 in government probate fees, more than six times the current level.

Says Julia Whelan, tax partner licenced to carry out probate work at Curo Chartered Accountants “Government probate fees have increased significantly over the last couple of years and the proposed  hikes are aggressive, representing bad news for many due to inherit what are considered ‘modest’ estates’. This charge is in addition to fees payable to the accountant or solicitor carrying out the probate work and makes an already upsetting situation even worse”.

The changes are due to take effect from May 2017, despite overwhelming opposition from a number of leading professional bodies.

Adds Julia “We always welcome clarity around changes to taxation. As the probate fees are based on estate values at the time of death, it is worth speaking with a tax specialist to understand your inheritance tax options.”