Changes to the way probate fees are paid are due to be introduced in April. Many people are unaware how this will impact those who have limited cash resources.

Until these reforms, everyone had to pay a flat rate of £215, or £155 if they were applying through a solicitor, on estates over £5,000.

The changes mean that some people will have to pay as much as £6,000. From April, in England and Wales, fees will now be paid on a sliding scale that looks like this:

  • less than £50,000 will pay nothing
  • £50,000 to £300,000 will pay £250
  • £300,000 to £500,000 will pay £750
  • £500,000 to £1 million will pay £2,500
  • £1 million to £1.6 million will pay £4,000
  • £1.6 million up to £2 million will pay £5,000
  • more than £2 million will pay £6,000.

When someone dies their property, money and possessions are known as their estate. An executor of a will has to pay probate fees to the court for the ‘grant of probate’ which provides their authority to administer the estate. If the deceased has not made a will their next of kin must apply for a ‘grant of letters of administration’.

A Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is needed in many estates so that the estate can be administered.  Depending on how the assets of an estate are held it is possible the executor may have to pay a court fee in order to deal with an estate.

This means that someone with limited means could pay as much as £6,000 in probate fees. Of course, these can be claimed from the estate once matters are settled; but this can take time and means that people could be out of pocket for many weeks and if you have a property to sell it could be many months.

For people inheriting smaller estates this is good news, but for others, who may be ‘cash poor,’ but ‘asset rich’, this will be a lot of money to come up with, so it you think it might be a struggle, we recommend discussing options to help you pay this with your solicitor.

For more details about wills and probate, contact Karyna Squibb at Cartridges Law, 01392 286774, or email