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Changes to Probate Fees and Inheritance Tax relate only to England and Wales

21 November 2018 Wills, Trusts & Estates Alan Roughead

The 2018 Budget made an announcement regarding Inheritance Tax with commentators stating that plans to simplify the inheritance tax rules could be just around the corner.

However the well-publicised changes to Probate fees relate to England and Wales only, not Scotland.

“Confirmation” in Scotland, or “Probate” in England and Wales, is the process by which the validity of the deceased's will is proved and the executors' legal authority to uplift and distribute the deceased's assets is confirmed by the courts.

What does this cost?

Scotland: To obtain the Grant of Confirmation, in addition to any solicitors' fee, there is an application fee payable to the Sheriff Court.  These fees are based on the size of the estate, and these are currently:-

  • Estates up £50,000 = no fee
  • Estates between £50,000.01 - £250,000 = £256
  • Estates exceeding £250,000 = £512

England and Wales: There are currently only three fee levels:-

  • Estates up to £5,000 = no fee
  • Otherwise, for estates upwards of £5,000, £215 for individuals making an application in person, or £155 when applying through a solicitor

The Government has, however, proposed increasing these fees in England and Wales to:

  • Estates up to £50,000 = no fee
  • £50,000 to £300,000 = £250
  • £300,000 to £500,000 = £750
  • £500,000 to £1 million = £2,500
  • £1 million to £1.6 million = £4,000
  • £1.6 million to £2 million = £5,000
  • Exceeding £2 million = £6,000

These fees are meant to reflect the administrative work involved in reviewing, processing and issuing the Probate Grants, however, many have criticised the proposed increases as being totally disproportionate to the administrative work involved and therefore more realistically represent a stealth tax.

As stated these changes only relate to Probate in England and Wales, and not Scotland.



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