The UK government has abandoned its planned increase in probate fees.
The increase in fees was announced last November and was originally set to take effect from 1 April 2019. However, in March HMRC made a decision to postpone the increase, attributing the delay to ‘pressure on Parliamentary time’ caused by Brexit debates and votes.
As part of the government’s plans, estates that are valued between £50,000 and £300,000 would have been subject to a probate fee of £250. Fees were to rise thereafter to reach £6,000 for estates with a value above £2 million.
Currently, for estates valued at over £5,000, a grant application made by a solicitor is subject to a flat fee of £155. A grant application made by an individual is subject to a fee of £215.
The increase was included in a statutory instrument (SI), so avoided the full scrutiny of Parliament. The SI fell away on the prorogation of Parliament in September, but was reinstated when the prorogation was declared illegal.
The government has now announced that the planned increase will not take place. There was no mention of the change in the Queen’s Speech on 14 October, and instead there will be a review of court costs and how they can be covered by the actual service required.