Probate Court Fees – dramatic proposed hike

  • March 02, 2017
  • By Hunters Law

A significant rise in Court fees for applying for a Grant of Probate is on the horizon to help fund the wider Courts and Tribunals Service.

Currently, there is no fee for applying for Probate for estates worth up to £5,000, and a flat fee of £155 for estates over this threshold where solicitors make the application on the executors’ behalf.

But if proposed fees (below) recently approved by the government receive parliamentary approval, it is expected that a huge rise in the application fee will come into force in May 2017.

Value of net estate (before inheritance tax)


Proposed Fee
Up to £50,000 or exempt from requiring a Grant of Probate


Exceeds £50,000 but does not exceed £300,000


Exceeds £300,000 but does not exceed £500,000


Exceeds £500,000 but does not exceed £1m


Exceeds £1m but does not exceed £1.6m


Exceeds £1.6m but does not exceed £2m


Above £2m £20,000


For larger estates, clearly the proposed new fees represent a huge increase and some estates are likely to experience difficulties in paying the fee, for example where assets cannot be liquidated before a Grant has been obtained.  The Government’s suggestions that, in these instances Executors might pay the fee out of their own pockets and be reimbursed at a later date, or that beneficiaries might assist, raise as many questions as they do answers.

There is also concern that to avoid the larger fees individuals might feel pressure to dispose of assets unwisely during their lifetimes, or that executors may fail to deal correctly with the administration of an estate.

It is not clear yet whether the fees will apply to all applications received after the fee increase, or only those where the deceased died after that date. It also seems that the government will not treat the fee as an expense which can be deducted from the estate for inheritance tax purposes. Given that the service provided by the Probate Registries is purely administrative, and the work required for a £20,000 fee is unlikely to be any different from that for a £300 fee, no doubt many will see the hike as a further tax on death.

We will monitor the proposals and provide an update once further information is made available, but if you have any questions, please contact the partner having responsibility for your affairs or any partner in the Private Client Department.

Related News

Jan 25, 2022
Flora Nelmes discusses the steps involved in insuring an unoccupied property following a death in Lawyer Monthly
Jan 17, 2022
Probate Application Fee Increase
Dec 13, 2021
Flora Nelmes says that clients should review their existing wills and consider IHT opportunities with the RNRB to remain fixed until April 2026 in Accountancy Daily
Dec 01, 2021
Flora Nelmes discusses the opportunities to review existing wills and explore IHT, as the residence nil rate band is to remain frozen until April 2026, in Lawyer Monthly
Oct 28, 2021
Doubling of time limit for payment of CGT on residential property transactions
Sep 30, 2021
Hunters recognised in Spear’s 2021 Tax & Trust Advisors Index
Sep 30, 2021
Sunir Watts explains how to make use of inheritance tax gift exemptions in Taxation
Sep 21, 2021
Harriet Murray examines whether a wealth tax is the way to pay for the pandemic in Accountancy Daily
Sep 20, 2021
Louise Garrett discusses the proposed increase in probate fees in WealthBriefing
Sep 17, 2021
Molly Wills discusses Lasting Power of Attorneys in Hamilton George Care

© Hunters Law LLP 2022 | Privacy NoticeLegal & Regulatory | Cookies Policy | Complaints Procedure.

Hunters Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (number 657218)