A Guide to Probate Application & Fees

Probate is a legal process that deals with the distribution of a person’s assets upon their death. This is known as their ‘estate’ and includes their property, money and possessions which are then divided amongst their heirs.

Probate can be a complex and lengthy process that may involve fees. This article will set out the fees involved when applying for probate along with the guidelines required for Inheritance Tax (IHT) purposes.

Applying for Probate

A fee may be payable when applying for probate and this will depend on the value of the deceased’s estate.  Probate fees can be paid from the estate.

The probate application fee in England and Wales is currently £273 if the value of the estate is over £5,000. No fee will be payable if the estate is £5,000 or less. Additional copies of the probate document can be ordered for £1.50 each, allowing for distribution to various organisations at the same time. 

If probate has already been already granted, the cost of making a second application will be £20. This fee will apply even if the estate is valued at £5,000 or less. Before applying for probate, it is necessary to check that is required and that you are eligible to apply. You will also need to value the estate to see if any IHT is payable.

Is Probate Necessary?

You can find out if probate is required to access the deceased’s assets by contacting their financial organisations, such as their bank or mortgage company. Each organisation will have its own rules on the process to follow. In the following cases, probate will not be needed:

  • Where the deceased jointly owned assets, such as money or shares, with other people. If so, they will pass automatically to the surviving co-owners.
  • Where the deceased owned property or land as a ‘joint tenant.’ This will pass automatically to the surviving co-owners.

Can I Apply for Probate?

Not everyone can apply for probate and eligibility will depend on whether there is a will or not. If there is a will in place, then those people who are named and appointed in it to manage the deceased’s estate (the executors) will be able to apply for probate, otherwise the closest living relative will be eligible.

Executors in England and Wales can either apply themselves, use the services of a solicitor or appoint a licensed probate service provider to do so. The process will vary slightly in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Valuing the Estate

The estate has to be valued to work out whether any IHT is payable. To estimate this the following are included:

  • The value of any assets
  • Any gifts made by the deceased in the seven years before their death
  • The value of any trusts the deceased had a beneficial interest in

No IHT will be payable where the value of the estate is below the threshold of £325,000.

Caversham Solicitors are here to help you during this stressful time. Our team are experienced in all aspects of Probate so will be able to help you with your estate and probate fees. Get in touch with us today if you have any questions or would like to talk to us directly.