175% Increase in Death Certificate Cost as Probate Fees Rise

The cost of original death certificates has risen from £4 per certificate to £11 – an increase of 175%. The rise took place just a week after the Government forged ahead with a new tiered system for probate fees. The flat fee of £215 will be replaced by a sliding scale that could see some estates pay as much as £6,000 for probate.

Up to £220 for death certificates

Death certificates are required to gain access to and/or close down accounts with banks, building societies, insurance companies and various other authorities.

Many require an original death certificate, rather than a copy. As The Daily Mail reports, families can need up to 20 original certificates. The charge’s increase brings the total cost from £80 to £220.

A Home Office spokesperson stated that the price rise is the first since 2010 and is set at recovery levels only. They were also at pains to point out that registration officers have the ability to reduce or waive fees for reasons of compassion or hardship.

However, as quoted in the Mail report, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable condemned the price rise as causing additional misery for families at an acutely difficult time.

Up to £6,000 for probate

Meanwhile, just a week before, the Government passed legislation to replace the current flat probate fee of £215 – or £155 through a solicitor – with a sliding scale that varies according to the size of the estate.

From April 2019, the new UK probate fee structure will be:

Estate valueProbate fee
£0 – £50,000£0
£50,000 – £300,000£250
£300,000 – £500,000£750
£500,000 – £1m£2,500
£1m – £1.6m£4,000
£1.6m – £2m£5,000
£2m and above£6,000

The fees will also have to be paid up-front – before being recovered from the estate – leading to worries that some families will need to borrow to obtain probate.

The good news, of course, is that more families will be exempt from probate fees altogether, as the threshold has been raised from £5,000 to £50,000.

How can you minimise costs?

There’s no getting around the death certificate charges and probate fees, of course. But the increases only make it more important to efficiently administer the Estate.

We can help you to minimise the tax liabilities of your loved one’s Estate. Speak to one of our probate experts today.