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The Rising Costs of Death

View profile for Guy Birtwistle
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With the ever escalating costs of administering an estate after the death of a loved one, and now the increased price for a each death certificate issued, we asked Guy Birtwistle, Associate Solicitor in our Wills and Probate department to have a look at the impact of these changes.

From February 2019 the price of a death certificate rose substantially, from £4.00 to £11.00 for each copy, an increase of 175%. This is hot on the heels of news of the government’s proposed increase in probate charges.

With some grieving families requiring up to twenty copies of the death certificate to prove to different institutions and authorities that their loved one has died, this will have a serious impact at a most difficult time as most organisations require originals and will not accept photocopies.

Even in simple cases, where the deceased person has a relatively straight forward estate, families may still need up to ten copies of the death certificate, an increase in costs from £40.00 to £110.00.

Guy commented:

“This has all the appearance of another stealth tax.  Where there are many assets, or asset holders, involved, the family registering the death will have to apply for multiple death certificates at £11 each.”

The increase in costs was set by the General Registry Office which reports directly to the Home Office. With more than half a million deaths each year in England and Wales, this price hike could potentially bring in millions of pounds for the government.

Guy went on to say:

“This is on top of a substantial increase in the costs of making the application for a grant of probate or letters of administration, which is due to be brought in on a date, yet to be announced, in April 2019.  Estates worth over £300,000, including the value of the home, will be particularly hard hit, paying between £750 and £6,000, for the most valuable estates.”

The Home Office said that this is the first price increase since 2010. Registration Officers do have the power to waive or reduce the fee on compassionate or hardship grounds.

Are you worried about or are currently going through sorting out the estate of a loved one who has passed away? Are you concerned about how your loved ones will cope after you have gone? Our Wills and Probate team can talk you through the complexities and give you peace of mind. Contact us today and we will do everything we can to assist you.

Guy Birtwistle is an Associate Solicitor in the wills & probate, and tax & trusts departments. He has many years of experience in dealing with wills, estate and trust administration, tax planning, and applications to the Court of Protection.

Guy and the Wills and Probate team can be contacted via our website by email or by phone on 01530 412167