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  • Writer's pictureMervyn Sands

Probate Fees

Updated: Nov 26, 2018

Completely unacceptable charges on estates.

Cost of applying for probate is currently £215.00, or £155.00 if done through a solicitor.

Proposed costs: £0.00 for estates up too £50K, £250.00 for estates from £50K001 to £300K,

£750.00 for estates from £300K001 to £500K and £2500.00 for estates from £500K001 to £1M.

I've decided to attemp to minimise this obscene Stealth Tax and Inheritance Tax.

This initial post is just focusing on the Probate Fees. I will update with information on Inheritance Tax and the actual Will in the very near future.

Applying for Probabte.

Applying for the legal right to deal with someone’s property, money and possessions (their ‘estate’) when they die is called ‘applying for probate’.

If the person left a will, you’ll get a ‘grant of probate’.

If the person did not leave a will, you’ll get ‘letters of administration’.

You apply for both in the same way.

You may not need probate if the person who died:

a. Had jointly owned land, property, shares or money - these will automatically pass to the surviving owners.

b. Only had savings or premium bonds.

Contact each asset holder (for example a bank or mortgage company) to find out if you’ll need probate to get access to their assets. Every organisation has its own rules.

Check if there’s a will. There’s a different process if there is no will

Value the estate and report it to HMRC.

Apply for Probate.

Pay any Inheritance Tax that’s due.

Collect the estate’s assets, for example money from the sale of the person’s property.

Pay off any debts, for example unpaid utilities bills.

Keep a record (‘estate accounts’) of how any property, money or possessions will be split.

Pass the estate (‘distribute the assets’) on to the people named in the will (‘beneficiaries’).

The Will

A will states what should happen to a person’s property and belongings (‘estate’) after they die. It’s usually valid if it’s been signed by the person who made it and 2 witnesses.

An executor is someone named in the will, or in an update to the will (a ‘codicil’), as a person who can deal with the estate.

An executor usually applies for probate to deal with the estate.

You need the will and any updates to apply for probate. These must be original documents, not photocopies.

Find the original will

The person who died should have told all the executors where to find the original will and any updates.

If there’s more than one executor

If more than one person is named as an executor, you must all agree who makes the application for probate. Up to 4 people can apply.

Every executor who applies for probate must:

legally declare that the information in the probate application is true, sign the will and any updates (‘codicils’), or photocopies of them

If only one executor applies they’ll need to prove they tried to contact all executors when they apply.

If you do not want to, or cannot be an executor

The will may name a replacement executor for someone who becomes ‘unwilling or unable’ to deal with the estate.

Contact your local Probate Registry if no executors are willing or able to apply for probate.

You do not want to be an executor

You can do one of the following:

completely give up your right to apply for probate (‘renunciation’) - fill in a renunciation form and send it with the probate application formreserve your right to apply for probate later if another executor cannot deal with the estate (holding ‘power reserved’)appoint an attorney to act on your behalf - fill in an attourney form and send it with the probate application.

When an executor is unable to apply for probate

A replacement executor should apply for probate if the executor is unable to, for example because:

they’ve died or they do not have ‘mental capacity’ - get a doctor to fill in a mental capacity form and send it with the probate application

Applying for probate

If you’re an executor you can apply for probate yourself or use a solicitor or another person licensed to provide probate services.

Report the estate’s value and pay any inheritance tax owed.

You must estimate and report the estate's value before you apply for probate. Depending on its value, you may have to pay Inheritance Tax.

You may get a penalty if you send inaccurate information on your Inheritance Tax form.

If there’s tax to pay, you normally have to pay at least some of it before you’ll get probate.

You can claim the tax back from the estate or the beneficiaries, if you pay it out of your own bank account.

Apply for probate online

You can use this service if you’re the executor and you:

have the original will and have the original death certificate or an interim death certificate from the coroner and have already reported the estate's value

The person who died must have lived in England or Wales most of the time.

You’ll need to send your documents by post after you submit your online application.

Apply for probate by post

Fill in the probate application form PA1. Send it with your documents.

Sending your documents

Send these documents to your local Probate Registry:

The original will and any additions to it (‘codicils’) - sign the front of each in the top right corner

2 copies of the signed will and additions on plain A4 paper - do not remove any staples or bindings to make the copies

The death certificate or an interim death certificate from the coroner.

The application fee of £215 - a cheque made payable to HM Courts and Tribunals Service (there’s no fee if the estate is under £5,000)

Use a signed-for postal service to send your documents.

The death certificate will be returned to you but the will and any updates to it will not be.

Extra copies of the probate cost 50p each - this means you can send them to different organisations at the same time.

If more than one executor applies

When more than one executor applies you’ll also need to send a photocopy of the will and any updates to it. Each executor must sign the first page of the photocopy in the top right corner.

If the will has been changed or damaged

You must include a cover letter if the will or any updates have changed in any way since you’ve had them. This includes them being damaged or separated for photocopying.

The letter should explain what’s been changed and why.

Swear an oath

If you applied by post you’ll be sent an oath. This is a promise that the information you’ve given is true to the best of your knowledge.

You’ll be sent details of how to arrange an appointment to swear the oath.

If you applied online you’ll make a ‘statement of truth’ - you will not have to swear an oath.

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