What are the new Probate fee increases?
A controversial increase in probate fees is due to come into force from April 2019.
The current cost for fixed fee probate applications is £155 (if an application is made through a solicitor) or £215 for a personal application. However, the Government proposes that from April 2019 the fees will be graduated depending upon the value of the estate.
Proposed fee structure
|Estate Value||Probate Fee|
|£0 – £50,000||No fee|
|£50,000 – £300,000||£250|
|£300,000 – £500,000||£750|
|£500,000 – £1,000,000||£2,500|
|£1,000,000 – £1,600,000||£5,000|
|£1,600,000 – £2,000,000||£4,000|
The change is due to come into effect sometime in April 2019, although no date has yet been given for its introduction. The Government has said that it will publish guidance on the ways for personal representatives to pay for the proposed increases before the changes are introduced.
What is a Probate?
The best way to explain the old-fashioned word ‘Probate’ is todescribe it as a Court Order called a Grant of Representation. Onceissued this gives you the power to deal with the affairs of adeceased person.
This description would make the Probate processmuch less confusing - indeed, this is probably the only time in lawwhen using more words helps! So it’s as simple as that. “gettingprobate” means obtaining a Court Order so that you can step intothe shoes of someone who has died so that you can sort their affairsout.
The Executor or Administrator of a person’s estate will usually apply for Probate.
DoI Need A Grant Of Representation?
Notnecessarily. A Grant of Representation is normally only requiredwhere the estate consists of stocks or shares, certain insurancepolicies, property or land held in the deceased’s sole name orjoint names as ‘tenants in common’.
AGrant of Representation may not be required where the deceased leftmodest amounts of money in banks/building societies. Before applyingfor Probate it’s a good idea to check the deceased’sbank/building society’s policy as to how much can be releasedwithout seeing a Grant of Representation.
It’salso usually the case that a Grant of Representation is not requiredwhen the deceased held everything jointly with someone else andeverything passes automatically to the surviving joint owner (i.e.between husband and wife).
WhatAre The Different Types of Grant Of Representation?
AGrant of Representation is an umbrella term used to describe thefollowing:
AGrant of Probate is the Court Order obtained when someone passes awayleaving a Will.
AGrant of Letters of Administration is the Court Order obtained whensomeone passes away without leaving a Will (known as dyingintestate).
WhatHappens When Someone Dies Leaving A Will?
MostWills nominate an Executor who is responsible for sorting out theaffairs of the person who has died. Taking on the role of anExecutor can seem daunting, and it is a big responsibility asExecutors are legally responsible for sorting out the deceased’sestate. The duties of an executor include:
- Applying for a Grant of Probate to deal with the deceased person’s assets if required
- Settling any tax due from the estate with HMRC
- Collecting in all of the assets of the estate
- Dealing with any property in the estate
- Paying any outstanding liabilities relating to the estate
- Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries in accordance with the Will
WhatHappens When Someone Dies Without Leaving A Will (Intestate)?
Whensomeone passes away without leaving a Will, then the persons entitledto the estate under the Rules of Intestacy should also apply to dealwith it. In this case, they are known as Administrators and willapply for a Grant of Letters of Administration.
Administratorsto an estate are legally responsible for sorting out the estate inmuch the same way as an Executor.
WhatElse Do I Need To Know?
Ifyou are acting as an Executor or Administrator of a person’sestate, then it’s useful to familiarise yourself with the Rules of Intestacy and the basics of Inheritance Tax. Check out our other FAQson these subjects for more information and guidance.
Ifyou find you are not confident in dealing with these issues or thesituation is too complicated, then it’s time to consult legalprofessionals.
HowDo I Apply For Probate?
Whensomeone leaves a modest estate with a properly executed Will, it’sa simple process for a well-informed Executor or Administrator tomanage the disposal of assets. However, we do advise caution. Getas much information as possible before trying to deal withadministering an estate yourself. A useful site to visit beforestarting the process is https://www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance (Thisis also where you download the Probate application form).
HowMuch Does Probate Cost?
Whenapplying for Probate, there is a fee of £215 payable to HM Courtsand Tribunals Service. If the estate is under £5,000, then there isno charge. Of course, if you appoint a solicitor or legal representative to help you, their fees would depend on the complexityof the work required.
HowLong Does It Take For Probate to be granted?
Thiswill vary depending on the complexity of the estate. It can sometimestake months for an Executor to be in a position to apply for Probateespecially if they need to search for a Will or list all the assetsfor the Inheritance Tax form.
Forsmall or simple estates with no issues or complications then theGrant should be extracted within about eight weeks. For largerestates involving property and multiple types of assets, it can takeseveral months.
OnceProbate has been granted the executor or administrator can dispose ofthe assets according to the Will or the Rules of Intestacy, whicheverapplies.
Take a look at our recent performance.
IfIn Doubt Seek Help
Aswe have seen, administering an estate can be daunting. Seeking professional help from Mr Probate is the surest way to help you to manage theseissues and ensure that a person’s estate is concluded properly.
Ifyou need any assistance whatsoever then please do not hesitate tocontact us on 0203 389 8469 or 0161 342 1409.