Probate fees – what you’ll pay to sort out someone’s financial affairs

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If someone dies, you’ll have to pay a fee in order to be able to sort out their financial affairs. These probate fees are changing, for England and Wales. Find out what it could cost.

Probate fees explained

If someone dies and they leave a will, then it’s the executors who apply for probate. You have to be named in the will in order to be an executor. If there’s no will, then the next of kin act as administrators and apply for ‘letters of administration’.

The government charges you a fee when you apply for probate or letters of administration. If you use a solicitor to act as an executor, they will charge for their time as well.

SAVVY TIP: In Scotland, the process is called ‘confirmation’, not probate. It’s the executors who apply for this.

Probate fees – what you’ll pay

The amount you pay when you’re applying for probate for someone depends on the value of their estate when they died.

JARGON ALERT: The value of someone’s estate means all the money, property, pensions, investments and possessions they owned when they died, minus any debts.

The probate fees were due to rise on April 1st in England and Wales, but because of Brexit, their implementation has been delayed.

Under the current system, in England and Wales, you pay a flat probate fee of £215 (or £155 if a solicitor does the probate for you) if the person died with an estate worth more than £5,000. If they died with less than £5,000, you don’t have to pay anything if you apply for probate.

The new fees mean that someone applying for probate for an estate worth less than £50,000, will not pay anything.

SAVVY TIP: It’s worth knowing that if someone dies with less than £50,000 in savings accounts, you may not need to get probate at all. Find out in my article called When do you need to get probate

  • If the estate is worth £50,000 to £300,000, you’ll pay £250
  • If the estate is worth £300,000 to £500,000, you’ll pay £750
  • If the estate is worth £500,000 to £1 million, you’ll pay £2,500
  • If the estate is worth £1 – £1.6 million,, you’ll pay £4,000
  • If the estate is worth £1.6 – £2 million, you’ll pay £5,000
  • If the estate is worth over £2 million, you’ll pay £6,000

When will the probate fee rise come in?

The government doesn’t seem to know exactly when the probate fee rise for England and Wales will come in. It says it will be ‘soon’. Normally, you can only apply for probate once you’ve submitted an inheritance tax form (account) to HM Revenue and Customs.

However, because the probate fees are due to rise in England and Wales soon, HM Revenue and Customs has said that probate registries will accept applications for probate before the inheritance tax account has been processed by HMRC.

You must include a note to say that the IHT forms will follow shortly.

Confirmation fees in Scotland

In Scotland, confirmation fees are £261 if the estate is worth less than £250,000 and £522 if it’s worth more than £250,000. In Northern Ireland, the maximum you pay is £249.

Probate fees in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, there’s no fee to pay if the estate is worth up to £10,000. If it’s worth more than £10,000, the fee is £200, or £250 if you’re applying without a solicitor.

Related articles:

Arranging a funeral and how to pay for it

When can you challenge a will? How a will can be contested

What do you do if someone dies intestate – without a will?

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