Probate changes and delays

The Government has delayed the introduction of proposed increases in fees relating to the application for a Grant of Probate. The date has not yet been set to introduce the new fees.

At the moment, there is a flat fee to apply for probate when someone has died. This fee is currently £215 if the value of value of the estate is £5,000 or over (there is no fee if the estate is under £5,000).

If the new scale of fees is introduced, this could increase the fees to as much as £6,000. The new fees will be based on a sliding scale according to the value of the estate.

A new IT process was introduced in January 2019 by HM Courts and Tribunal Services to streamline the application for Grants of Probate. It is reported that the delays to processing probate applications due to issues with the IT system are causing considerable problems for people applying for Grants of Probate.

Alongside these proposed changes, a new style of Grant of Probate certificate was issued on 4 March 2019. The new style Grant features:

  • a digital seal instead of an embossed one on the old form
  • a standard digital signature instead of a wet signature
  • a validation telephone number to enable a call to be made to validate a Grant
  • a high security hologram on the bottom right hand corner of the new Grant

The old form of Grant of probate will remain valid.

These changes and delays may mean that it is difficult for Executors to carry out their duties in administering estates promptly and efficiently. Obtaining specialist legal advice can still be a cost-effective and less stressful course of action in the long run.

To discuss this or any other probate matter contact us.