The Government published a new consultation on Thursday (18 February 2016) in which it has proposed significant increases in the fees charged to obtain a grant of representation (often referred to as a "grant of probate").
At present, the cost of obtaining a grant are minimal, at £155 (having already risen from £45 in 2014).
The proposals introduce a new tiered system based on the value of the estate. For example, if the estate is worth in excess of £500,000 the fee may be as much as £4,000, rising to £20,000 for those with estates in excess of £2,000,000.
The consultation follows a recent trend for dramatic increases in Court fees. Last year saw fees rise by 1,000% for certain applications.
If agreed, the changes are likely to have several knock on effects, and I expect we will see these discussed in full as part of the consultation. For example, the way in which an individual holds joint property with their partner is likely to impact the fee charged. As such, with careful planning it may still be possible to mitigate the fees: time will tell.
Wealthy families face the prospect of a hundredfold increase in probate fees, which could rise to a maximum of £20,000 under deficit-reducing proposals announced by the government this week.