The Cost of Probate Application: UK Probate Fees 2020

The Cost of Probate Application: UK Probate Fees 2020

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UK Probate fees went up in May 2020. This simple 7-step guide explains current costs, so that your probate application can be time-saving and money-saving. 



The Cost of Probate Application: UK Probate Fees 2020



What is probate and what are probate fees? Probate is the legal and financial process to follow after someone has died. An estate can only be settled after probate is granted (the ‘grant of probate’). Once the probate is granted, and the outstanding Inheritance Tax has been paid, the executor of will can disperse the assets. When applying for probate, the executor of will is responsible for covering the probate fees. 



How Much is the Probate Fee?


The probate application fee is £215, if the value of the estate is £5000 or more. If the estate is valued at less than £5000, it is considered a “small estate”. There are no fees applicable for a small estate. 



Can You Apply for Probate Online?


The executor of will or administrator may prefer to apply for probate online. It is possible to fill out an online probate application on the UK Government Website, if the deceased lived most of their life in England or Wales. When you apply online, you will be charged £215 (the current cost of probate 2020).



What is the Cost of Probate When You Apply for Probate by Post?


If you submit a postal probate application, you will need to fill in one of the following probate forms and pay the appropriate fees:

If there is a will – probate form PA1P  with a fee of £215. 

If there is no will – probate form PA1A with a fee of £215.


You can pay either:

  • by debit or credit card, on the probate registry card payment phone number (you will be given a reference number to include in your application)
  • by cheque, made out to HM Courts and Tribunals Service



Who Pays Probate Fees?

The executor of the will is responsible for paying the cost of probate. Once the estate is settled, the executor of will can be reimbursed this fee and any other tax they have paid on the estate’s behalf. If an executor of will needs financial assistance to cover the cost of probate application, they may fill out an EX160 form.



When Do You Pay Probate Fees?


The executor of will is responsible for carrying out the instructions of the will. The first step the executor needs to take is to fill in the probate application forms and pay the probate application fee (if applicable). They must then send the forms to the local Probate Registry. The probate application form to fill in is the PA1 form for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For Scotland, the required form is the C1. 


The executor is then called to the Probate Registry to attend an interview. Here, the executor of will must verify the information contained in the paperwork and swear an oath. After about ten days, provided there are no outstanding issues, the probate should be granted.


Once the grant of probate is issued, the executor of will receives a letter stating how much Inheritance Tax is due. This tax must then be paid. Following this, the executor of will can begin liquidating the deceased’s assets, settling any outstanding debts and paying final estate administration expenses. Only once this process is complete, can the final assets and funds be distributed to the beneficiaries named in the final will and testament. 



When Do the New Probate Fees 2020 Take Effect?


The new probate fees for the UK took effect in May this year. The cost of probate 2020 – 2021 is £215 (for an estate worth £5000 or more).



What Other Costs are Associated with a Probate Application?


Besides the current probate fees, there are a few other costs the executor of will is responsible for.



Inheritance Tax:

Before applying for probate, the executor must work out the rough value of the estate. Depending on the value, there may be Inheritance Tax to pay. The executor of will may be required to pay a portion of this tax upfront. Once the estate is settled, the executor can claim this tax back from the estate or the beneficiaries. The executor should then receive a notice from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC Probate Forms) stating that the Inheritance Tax has been paid (or that there is no tax due). After receiving this notice, the executor can then proceed to the probate application.



Extra copies:

If you require an extra copy of the probate (including the will and grant if applicable) these will cost £1.50 each. 



Solicitor’s Fees:

If you have used a solicitor during the probate application process, they will charge legal fees. Speak to your solicitor beforehand to find out if they charge an hourly fee, or a percentage of the estate value. The percentage could range between 0,75% and 3% of the estate value.


If you’d like help or guidance with your probate application process, speak to us (insert hyperlink) at Fenix Funeral Directors. Our attentive team will give your case the personal attention it deserves, so that this difficult period can be made a lot easier for you. 





How to you avoid probate fees?

You will avoid paying for a probate application if the estate is deemed a “small estate”, with a value of less than £5000.

Probate is also not required if it includes only:

  • life insurance policies or pension benefits
  • property or bank accounts jointly owned with another living person
  • cash and possessions, such a cars or jewellery 
  • if the deceased’s debts are of greater value than their assets



How long does probate take?

The application for grant of probate usually takes 3 – 6 weeks. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a probate application by post can take 4 – 6 weeks longer to be processed. This can extend the time for grant of probate to 8 – 12 weeks. If you would not rather risk delays or complications for your probate application, feel free to use our probate application services at Fenix Funeral Directors. We have a proud history of fast-tracking our clients’ cases, to bring calm and efficiency in a difficult time.