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By Andrew Rafferty 10 Mar, 2017

The Government has recently announced a new fee structure for obtaining a Grant of Probate. This fee structure is subject to approval by Parliament but is expected to come into force in May 2017.

The new fees will be tiered and scale with the net value of the Estate, an approach that is reminiscent of the Land Registry fee structure which increases in line with the value of the property in question.

The new fees range from zero for Estates valued at under £50,000 up to £20,000 for Estates valued at more than £2 million. An average sized estate of £501,000 will incur a fee of £4,000.

The increase represents a significant jump from the current fees which are currently £150 regardless of the size of the Estate.

This immediately raises concerns of cash flow for Executors.

A Grant of Probate is required to enable the Executors to sell property or to access significant funds held in bank accounts. The new fees therefore beg the question of how Executors are expected to fund such a significant fee.

Bramsdon and Childs would usually be willing to front the cost of the Grant, if there are no other easily realisable assets, safe in the knowledge that this will allow more funds to be released and settle the outstanding balance.

However, this approach is clearly no longer feasible where the fee would often be at least £1,000.

As a Firm we are currently looking into solutions for clients to make the administration process as straightforward as possible.

It is currently expected that banks will be willing to forward the fee from the deceased’s bank account to obtain a Grant, as is common with inheritance tax liabilities and funeral expenses.

It is also unclear whether any payment plans will be available for the larger fees but it appears unlikely.

A further issue is raised with those Estates that may have a property of a significant value but very little in the way of realisable cash. This is a situation that is far more common than many would expect.

Consider the situation of a property worth £501,000 but the estate only has a few thousand pounds in realisable cash. The fee in this estate would be £4,000 which must be paid upfront to obtain the Grant of Probate. The property cannot be sold to fund this fee as the Grant is required to sell the property. It is unlikely that there remains enough in a bank account to pay the fee as it would be usual for the funeral to have already been paid from these funds.

In the example above, a solution that comes to mind is a private loan to the Executors. Such loans are commonplace with inheritance tax liabilities but this is yet another step that the Executor must deal with and a further cost and time delay to the estate.

Bramsdon and Childs would urge anyone with questions and concerns at the new fee structure to contact us to identify any potential problems this may cause to an administration of an estate.

Please note that this article has been based on information received from the Probate Registry and is correct at time of publication but this information is subject to change before implementation of the new fees in May 2017.

By Andrew Rafferty 08 Dec, 2016
Our team of young lawyers have recently attended a few careers fairs to talk about what it is like qualifying and working in a high street law firm. 

A huge thank you to the University of Southampton and Portsmouth Grammar School for your hospitality and a special thank you to your students for their enthusiasm and interest in working in a high street law firm. 

We are keen to keep attending career fairs and representing high street firms so keep an eye out for us at future events!
By Andrew Rafferty 24 Aug, 2016
The recent scandal in the news involving the Help to Buy ISA rules have many people worried about their options when buying a first property.

As a firm we have been discussing these developments and how best to advise our clients on the rules and ensure they get the maximum bonus they are entitled to. 

Our solicitors have gained extensive experience in recent months using Help to Buy ISAs, along with the other Help to Buy schemes such as the Equity Loan, and we are pleased to report that we have had no issues and all of our first time buyers have happily taken the first step onto the property ladder!

If you are unsure of your position when taking the plunge on your first property, contact our conveyancing team today!
By Andrew Rafferty 25 Jul, 2016
We have finally decided to take the plunge and add a blog to our site. We always wanted an easy way to share information with clients and we are excited to start this journey. Keep coming back to our site for legal updates right here on the blog.
By Andrew Rafferty 10 Mar, 2017

The Government has recently announced a new fee structure for obtaining a Grant of Probate. This fee structure is subject to approval by Parliament but is expected to come into force in May 2017.

The new fees will be tiered and scale with the net value of the Estate, an approach that is reminiscent of the Land Registry fee structure which increases in line with the value of the property in question.

The new fees range from zero for Estates valued at under £50,000 up to £20,000 for Estates valued at more than £2 million. An average sized estate of £501,000 will incur a fee of £4,000.

The increase represents a significant jump from the current fees which are currently £150 regardless of the size of the Estate.

This immediately raises concerns of cash flow for Executors.

A Grant of Probate is required to enable the Executors to sell property or to access significant funds held in bank accounts. The new fees therefore beg the question of how Executors are expected to fund such a significant fee.

Bramsdon and Childs would usually be willing to front the cost of the Grant, if there are no other easily realisable assets, safe in the knowledge that this will allow more funds to be released and settle the outstanding balance.

However, this approach is clearly no longer feasible where the fee would often be at least £1,000.

As a Firm we are currently looking into solutions for clients to make the administration process as straightforward as possible.

It is currently expected that banks will be willing to forward the fee from the deceased’s bank account to obtain a Grant, as is common with inheritance tax liabilities and funeral expenses.

It is also unclear whether any payment plans will be available for the larger fees but it appears unlikely.

A further issue is raised with those Estates that may have a property of a significant value but very little in the way of realisable cash. This is a situation that is far more common than many would expect.

Consider the situation of a property worth £501,000 but the estate only has a few thousand pounds in realisable cash. The fee in this estate would be £4,000 which must be paid upfront to obtain the Grant of Probate. The property cannot be sold to fund this fee as the Grant is required to sell the property. It is unlikely that there remains enough in a bank account to pay the fee as it would be usual for the funeral to have already been paid from these funds.

In the example above, a solution that comes to mind is a private loan to the Executors. Such loans are commonplace with inheritance tax liabilities but this is yet another step that the Executor must deal with and a further cost and time delay to the estate.

Bramsdon and Childs would urge anyone with questions and concerns at the new fee structure to contact us to identify any potential problems this may cause to an administration of an estate.

Please note that this article has been based on information received from the Probate Registry and is correct at time of publication but this information is subject to change before implementation of the new fees in May 2017.

By Andrew Rafferty 08 Dec, 2016
Our team of young lawyers have recently attended a few careers fairs to talk about what it is like qualifying and working in a high street law firm. 

A huge thank you to the University of Southampton and Portsmouth Grammar School for your hospitality and a special thank you to your students for their enthusiasm and interest in working in a high street law firm. 

We are keen to keep attending career fairs and representing high street firms so keep an eye out for us at future events!
By Andrew Rafferty 24 Aug, 2016
The recent scandal in the news involving the Help to Buy ISA rules have many people worried about their options when buying a first property.

As a firm we have been discussing these developments and how best to advise our clients on the rules and ensure they get the maximum bonus they are entitled to. 

Our solicitors have gained extensive experience in recent months using Help to Buy ISAs, along with the other Help to Buy schemes such as the Equity Loan, and we are pleased to report that we have had no issues and all of our first time buyers have happily taken the first step onto the property ladder!

If you are unsure of your position when taking the plunge on your first property, contact our conveyancing team today!
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