Published On: Tue, Oct 8th, 2019

Probate fee changes could see you pay thousands more – on top of any Inheritance Tax bill | Personal Finance | Finance

It’s possible to apply for probate oneself, or by paying a solicitor or probate specialist to do so. At the time of writing, the application fee is £215 – if the value of the estate is £5,000 or more. Should the estate be under £5,000, then there’s no fee to pay. If a person opts to pay the solicitor for an application over this figure, then, according to the online will writing service Farewill, they can pay a flat-rate of £155 to the solicitor. However, the government proposed a change to the current probate fee structure from a flat rate fee to one based on the value of the estate back in March this year.

Under the proposal, every estate worth more than £50,000 (before Inheritance Tax) would pay more, according to a sliding scale.

And, if the estate was valued at £2 million, they’d need to pay £6,000, according to Farewill.

Dan Garrett, co-founder and CEO of Farewill, is of the opinion: “Dying is the only event in our lifetime to incur the most significant financial consequence, with £1 trillion expected to pass between generations over the next decade.

“And yet, for 30 million Brits, it is pushed aside as a conversation for a later date, as it is, quite frankly, too morbid to fully reflect on.

“However, with the current uncertainty on the moving thresholds and figures of Inheritance Tax, it is now essential that we all take the time to assess how to gain transparency and clarity over the cost and processes involved in the passing of loved ones.

“Today, Brits are paying a startling record of £5.4 billion in Inheritance Tax, and with these hidden rising probate fees, an increasing number of us are being directly affected by the charges.”

Changes to the probate fee structure are yet to come into effect.

The new structure would only apply to estates in England and Wales, with Scotland and Northern Ireland having different probate rules.

In some cases, it may be that Inheritance Tax is paid on the estate of a deceased person, above the threshold. This can include property, money, and possessions.

The Inheritance Tax threshold is usually £325,000, however it may increase for some people.

READ MORE: Inheritance Tax ‘particularly unpopular’: Minister attacks ‘fundamental unfairness’ of tax

For instance, if a person has any unused threshold, it can be transferred to a surviving spouse or civil partner.

By giving one’s home to their children or grandchildren, a person may be able to increase their threshold to £475,000.

The standard Inheritance Tax rate is 40 per cent.

This is only paid on the value of an estate that exceeds the threshold.

READ MORE: How to legally reduce Inheritance Tax bill – paying into this ISA could slash amount

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