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MoJ verifies probate fee hike

By January 16, 2022February 16th, 2022Human Rights, Wills

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that all users of the probate service will have to pay an increased flat fee.

Currently, the fees are fixed at £155 for professional users and £215 for non-professional users. As of 26 January, after a consultation, these will convert to one single probate fee of £273.

‘We support the MoJ’s aim to make a simpler, more streamlined process for users of the probate service, and we understand funds are needed to help this change and development,’ stated Stephanie Boyce, the Law Society president I. ‘However, we query why the UK government has decided to increase fees at this time, particularly as the probate service is still facing delays. In 2020, people had to wait 12 to 14 weeks on average to receive their grant. This is unacceptable, the service must be timely and allow executors to settle a loved one’s estate.’

In October 2021, HM Courts & Tribunals Service reported that it had acquired 14,834 digital probate applications and 5,502 paper applications. During the same month, 20,128 grants of probate were distributed, and the time for all applications was around 9.3 weeks.

Boyce further reported: ‘The government believes there’s no longer a justification for maintaining a lower fee for professional applicants, while a single probate fee will align with its managing public money principles – where the same fee should be charged for all users of the same service.

‘The MoJ acknowledges our key concerns that any increase should be reflected in new and tangible improvements to the service. It’s reassuring to see they’ve been making further advances to address these.’

Chancery Lane has proposed that a reimbursement for delays to users should be offered, howeverBoyce noted that the MoJ has not confirmed if it will definitely go ahead with this decision.

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