The Government has confirmed that it will press ahead with a new probate fee system due to take effect in May 2017, which could see fees for some estates increase by almost £20,000.

Currently, executors processing estates are charged ‘flat rate’ probate fees at a rate of £215 for all estates worth £5,000 or more.

However, changes proposed by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) will replace the current flat fees with a ‘sliding scale’ of charges linked to the value of estates.

The news comes despite rejection in a recent Government consultation, which saw less than two per cent of respondents agree with the new charges.

The proposed regime has previously been described by the Law Society as “unfair and discriminatory”.

Despite this, the MoJ has said that the new fee regime offers a “fairer, banded system,” which it claims will enable 92 per cent of estates to pay no more than £1,000.

Under the new system, probate fees will be charged as follows:

  • £300 on estates worth between £50,000 and £300,000.
  • £1,000 on estates worth between £300,000 and £500,000
  • £4,000 on estates worth between £500,000 and £1m.
  • £8,000 on estates worth between £1m and £1.6m.
  • £12,000 on estates worth between £1.6m and £2m.
  • £20,000 on estates worth more than £2m.
  • Estates below £50,000 will be exempt from charges.

Commenting on the proposals, a MoJ spokesperson said: “Fees are necessary to maintain an accessible, world-leading justice system which puts the needs of victims and vulnerable people first”.