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Changes to probate fees for 2019


Private Client

Controversial fee increase set to take place from April 2019.

From April 2019, some estates in England and Wales could be required to pay almost £6,000 for a service that currently costs less than 4% of that amount. This is because of a proposed change to the fees families must pay to administer the estate of someone who has died.

This process, more generally referred to as probate, involves gathering the assets of the deceased, valuing the estate, paying any tax and bills, and distributing the estate according to the will.

At the time of writing, obtaining the document needed to carry out these tasks – called a grant of probate in England and Wales – costs £215, or £155 if you apply through a solicitor, but there’s no fee if the estate is under £5,000.


However, the Government has announced plans to restructure the way the fees work, which would see some estates paying significantly more than they do now.

What’s changing?

Instead of the current flat rate, the proposed system sets fees on a sliding scale based on the value of the estate, as shown in the following table:

Value of estate before Inheritance Tax

Proposed fee

Up to £50,000 or exempt from requiring a grant of probate


£50,000 – £300,000


£300,000 – £500,000


£500,000 – £1m


£1m – £1.6m


£1.6m – £2m


Above £2m


Source: Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, 21 November 2018

This seems like a large increase to fees for larger estates but the costs are considerably lower than similar proposals put forward in 2017, which would have raised fees to as much as £20,000.


Probate can be a lengthy and often complicated process if you’re carrying it out alone.

If you’ve been named as the executor in someone’s will, there are a number of stages to complete even before you apply for a grant of probate, and several more after you’ve obtained one.


Appointing a professional to act on your behalf can make this process easier and ensure it is completed accurately. If you’re dealing with a particularly complex estate, specialist expertise can save you a lot of money.


Please contact our Personal Tax team for advice on 01223 810100