With probate fees increasing in May, what should I do if a caveat is preventing me from taking out the grant?

5 April, 2017

If you are the appointed personal representative of a deceased’s estate, you are likely to be aware of the widely reported decision by the government to dramatically increase probate fees for some estates in May.

By way of summary, the current flat rate of £215 or £155 will be increasing for estates worth £50,000 or more and, for estates worth

more than £2 million; these fees will be as high as £20,000.

In light of these changes, there is likely to be a rush of probate applications over the next 4 weeks to try to take advantage of the current, lower, fee. Concerns might arise for personal representatives, however, if there are any disputes concerning the validity of the deceased’s Will which have resulted in the entry of a caveat against the estate (as a caveat prevents the personal representative from obtaining the grant).

In our discussions with the Probate Registry, they have provided clarification on this point, confirming that as long as the application for probate is lodged before the fee increase in May, then the current fees should apply irrespective of whether a caveat has been lodged.

Accordingly, unless there are good reasons for not making an application, personal representatives and the beneficiaries of a deceased’s estate are likely to want to get their application to the registry as early in April as possible (even if a caveat has been entered) to avoid the estate unnecessarily incurring additional costs.

If you are involved in a probate or Will dispute and would like further advice on the increase in probate fees or more generally please contact Dino Sikkel at dino.sikkel@crippspg.co.uk.