MSE News

Probate fees rise 76% for many bereaved families after Government introduces £273 flat fee

Bereaved families face a sharp rise of up to 76% in probate fees after the Government introduced a flat fee of £273, replacing the previous two-tier system where families would pay a £155 or £215 fee depending on how they applied for probate.

The flat fee replaces the previous probate application system, which was significantly cheaper. Under the old system the fee was £155 if a solicitor applied for probate on your behalf, or £215 for those who applied directly. 

The Ministry of Justice said the new higher fees will "fully fund" investment in a digital probate service to "ensure shorter waiting times, fewer user administrative errors and a better experience for families".

The new £273 cost will apply to any application where the estate - the total amount of assets the deceased owned, minus any debts - is £5,000 or over. Those applying for probate for estates worth less than £5,000 will continue to pay no fee.

See our Guide to Probate for more information, including who needs to go through the probate process, how you can apply for it without the help of a solicitor, and when it's a good idea to get help to do it.

If you'll struggle to pay the new charge, it's worth applying to for the 'Help with Fees' scheme

Applicants who can demonstrate that they'll have trouble paying the probate fees can receive a full or partial discount. You usually need to be on a low income and/or in receipt of certain benefits. You check your eligibility and apply online for the Help with Fees scheme here. Or, if you'd rather print out a paper form, you can download one here

Those who aren't eligible for the Help with Fees scheme, but feel they would face undue hardship as a result of paying the probate fee, can apply for the fee to be waived, via a power the Lord Chancellor has to remit fees. We have asked the Government how you can do this and will update the piece once we know more. 

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