Have your say: proposed probate fee increases
We're seeking your views on the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) proposals to increase probate fees. This will help inform our response to its consultation.
We've launched a short survey which provides an opportunity for you to highlight any concerns you and your colleagues have with the proposed fee increase and the probate service more generally.
The MoJ is consulting on its proposal to align the fees for professional and non-professional applicants of probate. The proposal will align the fees into a single sum of £273 that is set at cost recovery regardless of the size of the estate.
The current fees are £155 for professional users, and £215 for non-professional users.
The objectives of the MoJ consultation
The MoJ has said that the objectives of the proposal are to:
- remove the unjustified discrepancy between professional and non-professional applicants for probate – this would bring the fee structure into alignment with HM Treasury’s guidance on managing public money, where all users should pay the same fee for the same service
- ensure that the fee recovers HM Courts and Tribunals Service’s (HMCTS) costs for delivering the service
- protect access to justice by ensuring that courts and tribunals are adequately resourced, while reducing the overall taxpayer subsidy for HMCTS
The consultation closes on 23 September 2021.
The views and experiences of legal representatives who regularly use the probate service are critical to understanding whether the increased fee is justifiable, based on how well the system currently works.
We would be interested to know whether you think the service has become better or worse since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and since the online application service was introduced.
In particular, our survey is seeking your views on whether:
- you agree with the government’s increase to the probate fee to cover the cost of the probate service
- it is right that that the discount for probate professionals is removed from the new fee
- you experience significant delays when using the service
- you would support a fee increase to cover the cost of improving the service provided
- you have experienced any unnecessary stops to a recent online application
You can also send us any feedback by emailing email@example.com.
Our position on the proposed rise in probate fees
At present, we're unclear as to how such fee increases can be justified; especially when grieving relatives are suffering due to the service being subject to significant delays.
Law Society President, I. Stephanie Boyce said:
“With so many applications now online, and the expansion of court and tribunal service centres to centralise administration, it is unclear why probate service overheads have increased to justify such a significant fee hike.
“It is no secret the probate service has faced delays for people applying for probate grants or letters of administration. In 2020, people had to wait 12 to 14 weeks on average to receive their grant. This is unacceptable, the service must be timely and allow executors to settle a loved one’s estate.
“Any increase in fees must be reflected in the service provided. The online service was specifically designed to streamline the process, and the UK government must get the system working efficiently before upping costs to both professional and non-professional users alike.”