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The New Probate ‘Death Tax’ – What You Need to Know

Posted on November 29th 2018

Probate fees are set to dramatically increase in 2019 – here’s what you need to know.

What are probate fees?

Most people are aware of inheritance tax, but do not realize that they will also have to pay probate fees when a loved one dies with or without a Will.

When someone dies, the executor of the Will/administrator of the estate may have to apply for a Grant of Probate/Letter of Administration in order to take legal control of a person’s estate. Often, this is done through a Solicitor.

A person’s estate includes the money, property and possessions they leave behind when they die.

At the moment, the probate fee is a flat rate of either £215 if you apply yourself, or £155 if you apply via a Solicitor. However, this is about to change.

The new probate fees:

In 2019 (reportedly April) the government will introduce a banded fee structure. At the highest end of the scale, people may have to pay up to £6,000 in probate fees. Estates worth less than £50,000 will no longer have to pay probate fees at all.

However, the fees work on a sliding scale above this point, as can be seen below:

Estate ValueProposed Probate Fee
Below £50,000£0
£300,000 – £500,000£750
£500,000 – £1M£2,500
£1M – £1.6M£4,000
£1.6M – £2M£5,000
£2M and above£6,000


For people with an estate of £2M and above, this is a rise of 3,770%.

The top fee is lower than the one proposed in 2017, which was originally £20,000. However, it is still a huge increase.

Just a way to make revenue?

Critics of the new tax have suggested that it is simply a new way for the government to make revenue or a ‘stealth tax.’ They say that a sliding scale is not representative of the actual cost of providing the service because the level of administration which takes place for a grant of probate does not change to reflect the estate’s value.

How can we help?

If you need legal help, please contact us today on 01244 312306. You can read more about our Wills and Probate services here.

Call and speak to a lawyer on 01244 312306