Probate fees ‘hike’
Despite the fact that the hike is subject to Parliamentary approval it looks like the Probate Registry and MoJ believe it is a forgone conclusion with effect from 1 May 2017.
In their latest missive to solicitors the MoJ have confirmed the effective date of the change as being from the date of application not death. This results in a practical problems in taxable estates where the current rate of delay in receiving IHT 421 receipts for tax paid is running at over 3 weeks. For those of you faced with such a problem – a receipt awaited and close to the 1 May deadline for the fee increase – the MoJ have said that ‘it is possible to submit the appropriate forms to both HMRC and HMCTS Probate simultaneously. We will not issue your grant until the approved IHT 421 is received but we will mark your application as lodged.’
Good luck with that – make sure you have sent in a perfect application and marked it clearly that the IHT form has been lodged and will follow after HMRC have issued the receipt. Fingers crossed that will do the trick for those caught in the transition and HMRC delays.
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There is no instalment option available so for every other case the executors will have to pay or ask the Probate Service to access a particular asset for the sole purpose of paying the fee. It seems likely that clients will strive to have everything in joint names to avoid this hike and the upset it will undoubtedly cause in cases where the family are capital asset rich but cash poor.
For background on this issue see my blog https://www.lawskills.co.uk/2019/articles/2016/03/consultation-proposals-reform-fees-grants-probate
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