If you are dealing with the estate of someone who has died, you need to obtain what’s known as a ‘grant of probate’ before you can distribute their assets as set out in their will.
Prior to May 2017 a flat fee of £215 applies, despite value of estate. Estates under £5,000 are no fee.
From May 2017 the probate fees will change as shown below.
The total estate has to be valued. This includes property, cash, savings, goods and chattels etc. If the estate value in total is under £50,000 then there is no charge for probate.
Many estates will exceed this and therefore have to pay the new higher charges. Without paying them, nothing can be legally released to beneficiaries.

Value of estate                                                            New fee

Less than £50,000 £0
£50,000 to £300,000 £300
£300,000 to £500,000 £1,000
£500,000 to £1m £4,000
£1m to £1.6m £8,000
£1.6m to £2 £12,000
£2m and above £20,000

Case study: Sally and Jim have already lost their father. Then their mother passes away. They are named as the executors and the two main beneficiaries of the will.

The property is worth £275,000 and the savings, car and goods and chattels are worth £40,000.
This now means that Sally and Jim have to be able to pay £1000 in probate fees before they can receive their inheritance.
Some people may be forced to take loans if they cannot find the fees. In some cases, this will be on top of any inheritance tax payable if the estate falls into this bracket.
This is even harder for people who are acting as executors of a will without benefitting from it. They may claim the fees back from the estate but will still need to find them first.
With this in mind, take some advice about your estate. There are in some cases, strategies you can take that reduce the valuation of your estate, reducing fees for your loved ones.
Call Western Wills for a free consultation.

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