If someone dies, you’ll have to pay a fee in order to be able to sort out their financial affairs.
Here, we explain what it could cost.
Probate fees explained
If someone dies in England or Wales and they leave a will, then it’s the executors of the will who apply for probate. The executor is the person who’s responsible for dealing with all the person’s finances and possessions.You have to be named in the will in order to be an executor. If there’s no will, then the next of kin act as administrators and must apply for ‘letters of administration’.
The government charges you a fee when you apply for probate or letters of administration. If you use a solicitor to act as an executor, they will charge for their time as well.
In Scotland, the process is called ‘confirmation’, not probate. Again, it’s the executors who apply for this.
Probate fees – what you’ll pay
In England and Wales, you will pay a flat probate fee of £273 when you apply for probate on an estate of any size, whether you carry out the probate process yourself or if a solicitor does it for you.
This is a change from the old system, which applied before 26 January 2022, and meant that probate fees would only be paid if the estate of the person who has died is worth more than £5,000.
You won’t normally have to go through the probate process if your spouse or civil partner has died and any savings and property were held jointly.
If you have a question about applying for probate you can contact the Courts and Tribunals Service Centre via its Webchat service. This is available from Monday to Thursday 8am to 5pm and on Fridays from 8am to 4pm.
Confirmation fees in Scotland and Northern Ireland
In Scotland, confirmation fees are £266 if the estate is worth less than £250,000 and £532 if it’s worth more than £250,000. There’s no fee if the estate is valued at less than £50,000. Application forms and guidance notes can be found on the HMRC website.
In Northern Ireland, probate fees comprise of a grant fee and a personal application fee, which cost £261 and £61 respectively. You only pay the personal application fee if you are applying for a grant without a solicitor and if the net value of the estate is less than £10,000 you don’t have to pay either of these fees. Find out more about applying for probate in Northern Ireland here.
If you are on a low income, or if you’re claiming certain benefits, you may not have to pay a fee, or you may be able to get some money off the fee, so check before you apply.
Appointing a probate specialist
In many cases you may need a probate specialist to help with dealing with your loved one’s estate, particularly if there’s an inheritance tax liability or if the estate is complicated. This may be a solicitor or accountant. For more information go to When to use a probate solicitor or specialist.
Find out more about what to do when someone dies in our article What to do when someone dies.