HMRC has announced that the changes to probate fees which were due to come into effect last month, have been delayed.
The decision for the delay has been made as Parliament continues to struggle to resolve the issues surrounding Brexit.
What are probate fees?
Personal representatives, (executors or administrators) are responsible for dealing with the estate of a deceased person. Their authority to receive the assets in the estate is proved by a grant of representation. It’s not always necessary to apply for a grant of representation – this usually depends on the size of the estate and the type of assets it comprises.
A grant of probate is one type of grant of representation.
At present, probate applications are charged a flat fee of £155 if made by a solicitor and £215 if made by an individual. These fees apply to estates in England and Wales which are worth £5,000 or more.
The system was due to be replaced on 1 April 2019 by a new regime, which would set fees on a sliding scale based on the value of an estate.
The changes will eventually abolish probate fees for estates worth less than £50,000 in England and Wales, although estates worth more than this face paying increased fees of up to £6,000.
The new probate fees system will begin 21 days after the motion is passed, although the new fees will not alter the probate process in Scotland.
Usually, to get probate in England and Wales, whoever is dealing with the estate must first submit an inheritance tax account to HMRC, which provides an inheritance tax reference number.
Probate registries usually do not accept an application for probate until the Revenue has confirmed that it has received that account. However, as an interim measure, probate registries will temporarily accept applications before HMRC processes them as long as assurance is given that the inheritance tax forms will follow shortly.
Despite receiving approval from peers, a separate House of Lords committee described the increased fees in November 2018 as a “stealth tax”.
Talk to Steve
If you would like further information about probate fees, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our director, Steve Greehy.
To read news and blogs from Steve Greehy, click here >>