13 February 2019
The cost of a death certificate is to rise from £4 to £11 in England and Wales on 16 February. The increase has been set by the General Register Office, which is accountable to the Home Office.
In the past, individuals dealing with estates might have ordered several certificates to send to local and national authorities, banks, pension providers and others as evidence of a death. The increased cost of a death certificate is likely to encourage a greater use of certified copies wherever possible. In addition, some government agencies as well as financial institutions can be advised of a death through the single-notification systems which are now available.
12 November 2018
The Ministry of Justice has revived controversial plans for sharp increases to probate fees that were abandoned just before the 2017 general election.
At present, applicants pay a flat fee of £215 (or £155 if the application is made through a solicitor). Under the new proposals, the fees will vary depending on the size of the estate. The largest estates, worth more than £2 million, will now bear a fee of £6,000 (compared to £20,000 under the earlier plan). The government claims that around 80% of estates will pay £750 or less.
The new proposals have already attracted controversy. The Law Society has attacked them as a 'stealth tax'. The charitable sector is also concerned about the effect on legacy income. The higher fees will fall on the residue of an estate, which is often left to charity under a Will.
The government hopes to introduce the new fees in spring 2019.