Despite a lot of opposition, probate fees are due to rise next month.
At the moment they are a flat fee of £155 (if applied for via a solicitor) or £215 (if applied for directly). Estates of less than £50,000 will become exempt from paying a fee. Currently the threshold for exemption is just £5,000. However, those above this new threshold will see a significant increase.
The new probate fees will be linked to the value of the estate as per the following table:
|£50k - £300k ||£300
|£300k - £500k||£1,000
|£500k - £1M ||£4,000
|£1M - £1.6M||£8,000
|£1.6M - £2M||£12,000
These fees are in addition to inheritance tax (IHT).
In another move to save money, the Government also confirmed that individuals on certain benefits or with a low amount of savings would no longer be able to claim for financial help to pay probate fees.
There is some positive news however from the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). Their fees for registering a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) were reduced from 1st April 2017.
A Power of Attorney allows you to plan ahead to give authority to someone to make decisions on your behalf in the event of you losing capacity in the future. LPAs replaced EPAs in 2007. EPAs are still valid prior to this date and can be registered if the donor – the person who created the EPA – has since lost capacity. EPAs relate only to health and welfare whereas LPAs can relate to either personal welfare or to property and affairs.
As the number of people applying to register Powers of Attorney is increasing, the OPG has been able to make savings which it is able to pass on. The new fee for registering an LPA or an EPA is £82, down from £110. In the event that an LPA/EPA is unsuccessful, there is a new reduced resubmission fee of £41 which previously was £55.
There are still exemptions available for those on certain means tested benefits. Depending on individual circumstances, the application may be free of charge. A 50% fee reduction may be available for those earning less than £12,000 per year before tax.
For advice on preparing or registering a Power of Attorney or planning a Will, please call E.L.M Legal Services on 0800 019 4557 or email: email@example.com