New Year, New Changes – as of 26th January 2022, the probate application fee will be increased to £273. This will be a flat fee applied to professional and personal applications for England and Wales, under the amendment to the Non-Contentious Probate Fees Order 2001 published in December 2021.
The Ministry of Justice have highlighted that this fee increase is likely to raise an additional £20 million per year for Her Majesty Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS). One may recall, a few years ago it had been proposed that a sliding scale of probate fees, based upon the value of the case, was to be implemented with the highest fee being £20,000 for estates valued over £2 million. In some respects, one could say that £273 is a better deal.
In addition to the above, the Inheritance Tax (Delivery of Accounts) (Excepted Estates) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 have come into force, which means that any deaths from 1st January 2022 where a person was domiciled in England, Wales or Northern Ireland with an excepted estate, no longer needs to complete forms IHT205 or IHT217, if applicable., HM Revenue & Customs have also extended the number of days from 35 to 60 days for them to get in touch to ask for more information on excepted estates. This timescale should be factored into dealing with estate administrations
The previous position for deaths on or after 6 April 2011 and on or before 31 December 2021, required one to complete form IHT205 if the deceased’s estate was an ‘excepted estate’ and the deceased was domiciled in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. ‘Excepted estate’ is one in which no Inheritance Tax is paid, and the Personal Representatives do not need to file a full Inheritance Tax account due to meeting certain conditions, such as being less than the nil rate band or the application of spouse or charitable exemptions that apply to the estate. With the new changes, the gross estate limit for an exempt estate for spouse or charity exemptions have increased from £1 million to £3 million.
The Treasury have implemented these changes to the probate process to ease administrative burdens on estates requiring probate. It has been estimated that over 90% of estates do not have an Inheritance Tax liability, therefore for low value and exempt excepted estates the process to apply for probate has now been simplified to only require the probate application form (PA1P or PA1A).
Even though there may not be a requirement to complete any Inheritance Tax forms on the first spouse’s death, we would recommend one maintains good records as this will be helpful when dealing with the second spouse’s death.
The private client team at Fraser Dawbarns LLP can assist you and your families with any aspect of estate administration. We offer the full range of services and legal advice that will allow you to deal with every aspect of the administration of an estate, confident in the knowledge that you are fulfilling your obligations as a Personal Representative. Contact our Wills and Estates team for a discussion on how we can help you with Probate and Administering an Estate.
This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek advice specific to your own circumstances. Fraser Dawbarns LLP are always happy to provide such advice.
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