STEP calls on the government to alleviate pressure on bereaved families by ending the probate fee rush

Wednesday, 6 February, 2019
  • Government’s new probate fees regime will mean higher fees for many families
  • Recently bereaved families face pressure to apply for probate before the new fees are introduced in April
  • By instead applying the new fees to the estates of those who die after the start of April, the government could alleviate pressure on families, says STEP.

STEP, the global professional association for practitioners who specialise in family inheritance and succession planning, today calls on the government to end the rush to pay probate fees that is piling pressure on bereaved families.

The professional body is making this point ahead of a meeting by a House of Commons committee tomorrow, Thursday 7 February, which will consider government proposals to increase the fees by more than 3,000 per cent in some cases.

If the government gets its way, new probate fees will take effect in April. Many people who have lost a loved one will have to pay higher fees of up to GBP6,000, depending on the value of an estate.

Recently bereaved relatives who would pay higher fees under the new regime are therefore facing pressure to apply for probate as soon as possible. This means they can pay the current flat fee of GBP215, or GBP155 if sought through a solicitor, for estates over GBP5,000.

STEP is calling on the government to apply the new fees to estates where an individual has died after the start of April, rather than to all those who submit their probate application after this date. This would lift some pressure off bereaved families at a difficult and emotional time.

Emily Deane TEP, Technical Counsel at STEP, and a former private-client lawyer, says:

‘Recently bereaved families are having to rapidly work out whether they would be worse off with the new fees and, if they are, apply for probate before April or pay the higher amount.

‘We at STEP think, like many, that the new fees should not be introduced in the first place. But given this government’s determination on this issue, it should at least try to avoid extra stress on people at a very difficult time.

‘This is piling pressure on people at a time of bereavement. Many find it difficult enough when a relative dies, without extra stress. The government should recognise this problem and address it. It should simply apply the new fees to the estates of people who die after the fees are introduced.’

Contact details

For more information, or to request an interview with Emily Deane, please contact:

Guy Dennis, Citigate Dewe Rogerson: +44 (0)20 7638 9571 Guy.Dennis@citigatedewerogerson.com or 

Nick Reading, Citigate Dewe Rogerson: +44 (0)20 7638 9571 or Nick.Reading@citigatedewerogerson.com.

Notes to Editors

Further information:

For information on the new probate fees, see Advising Families: Probate fees: what’s all the fuss about? 

About STEP

STEP is the global professional association for practitioners who specialise in family inheritance and succession planning. STEP works to improve public understanding of the issues families face in this area and promotes education and high professional standards among its members. STEP members help families plan for their futures, from drafting wills to issues surrounding international families, protection of the vulnerable, family businesses and philanthropic giving. Full STEP members, known as TEPs, are internationally recognised as experts in their field, with proven qualifications and experience. Find out more at www.step.org.