Great news for a while: I wrote this article in preparation for the upcoming new fees but then, the Government called a General Election and decided that it was too much to introduce these fees at the same time so they have NOT come into effect, this is not to say that they wont, but there is at least some breathing space!
This is what I wrote at the time:
From May 1st 2017 there will be New Probate Fees attached to obtaining a Grant of Probate which is necessary for most estates worth more then £25,000 although this figure varies depending on the various banking and investment institutions that the deceased person’s estate has dealings with. Each institution has their own rules about at what size of estate they require a Grant of Probate or now.
The figures that you need to know are set out in the table below:
|New Probate Fee Structure|
|Value of Estate (before IHT)||Proposed fee|
|Up to £50,000 or exempt from requiring a grant of probate||£0|
|£50,000 to £300,000||£300|
|£300,000 to £500,000||£1,000|
|£500,000 to £1million||£4,000|
|£1million to £1.6million||£8,000|
|£1.6million to £2million||£12,000|
But what does this mean for the average family?
It means that the nominated Executors will need to pay this fee with their application for a Grant of Probate, this is before they are able to release funds from the deceased’s estate, admittedly, they will be able to pay themselves back from the estate’s funds but the initial payment will have to come from the Executor’s own pockets.
We think that many people who are nominated as Executors, particularly if they are not direct family and often not benefiting from the estate, will be reluctant to do this.
So what should you do?
We think that careful consideration should now be given to your choice of Executor, it is highly likely that the burden of such a payment prior to distribution of any estate is going to cause your loved ones unnecessary hardship at a very difficult time and so you might want to chose a Professional Estate Administration service, and again, you need to be careful about your choice of Professional as it’s not yet clear how the High Street Solicitors are going to deal with this, if they haven’t got a good cash flow, you might find that some practitioners could still be asking for the up-front Probate Fee be funded by the ultimate beneficiaries which takes us back to the initial problem.
Far better to be sure and chose a company that has an arrangement in place to allow the funding of the new Probate Fee and so removes the financial burden from the family all together. Talk to us about our solution, it’s the best in the industry and is free to insert into your wills using our will writing service.