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WARNING: Substantial increases to the cost of probate registry fees

At Eaton Smith Solicitors we’re warning clients to be aware of potential cost changes in death certificates and probate fees, which are set to come in to force.

Probate fees are set to change in April and will work on a sliding scale rather than the current fixed cost. Currently, the charge is a flat rate of £215, or £155 if applied for through a solicitor, on estates valued at more than £5,000. The planned rule changes mean estates valued at less than £50,000 will not be subject to probate fees, however, estates worth between £50,000 and £300,000 will be charged £250, £300,000 - £500,000 will be charged at £750 and the maximum cost will be £6,000 for estates worth £2 million or more.

At present, it is unclear whether the new probate fees will only apply to those who die after the new rules come into force or, whether it will apply to all applications made after the date of commencement. If the latter, there is likely to be an influx of probate applications between now and April as people try to avoid the increased charges.

Charlene Vilia, Senior Solicitor at Eaton Smith said: “We deal with many families who have lost loved ones, and we want to make sure people who will be impacted are aware of these changes, so that they can prepare for the increased cost of making a probate application.

Furthermore, the fees for death certificates rose on 16th February.  Death certificates were previously charged at £4 but are now set at a standard rate of £11, regardless of when they’re purchased. 

Charlene commented: “It’s only a relatively small amount of money but many organisations require original death certificates to close or transfer accounts, and families frequently have to purchase more than one. It is only fair that people are aware of the cost, so they can budget for it correctly.”