New probate fees

Does anyone know if the new fees are assessed by reference to the gross or net estate?
Geoff Dennis
OGR Stock Denton

The Non-Contentious Probate Fees Order 2017 includes a definition of the assessed value of an estate in article 3 which in summary is the net estate passing under the grant. Lump sum death benefits for judges and senior civil servants which technically form part of the estate are discounted for the purpose of working out the assessed value.

Anne Lewis
Cripps LLP


Noting that this is a fee and not a tax and that it is the β€œnet” estate that will apply, are there any applicable anti-avoidance provisions on how a net estate is achieved?

Mark Walker
Anglolex Ltd.

There were no specific anti-avoidance provisions in the draft Regulations which according to news this morning are now to be scrapped ahead of the general election, (notwithstanding the vote by the House of Commons Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments yesterday which voted in favour of the proposed increase). I note from the BBC news website article on this that a senior Conservative declined to say if the scheme would be brought back if the prime minister was re-elected so we still need to take into account the impact of increased probate fees when advising clients on succession planning. When justifying the increased fees Oliver Heald QC MP referred to ownership of property as joint tenants as being normal for spouses so that the property would pass by operation of law and not form part of the estate for the purposes of working out the value for the fee, so basic advice appears to be acceptable.

Anne Lewis
Cripps LLP