Probate fees update: The SA Law Society is opposing the government’s new and very unfair fee increases. As reported by the President of the SA Law Society Mr David Caruso:
The Chair of the Succession Law Committee, Ms Joan Sedsman, and I appeared before the Legislative Review Committee yesterday, Wednesday 9 March 2016, in relation to the Society’s opposition to the Supreme Court (Probate Fees) Variation Regulations 2016, presently the subject of a disallowance motion by the Honourable Mark Parnell MLC.
The Society has previously written to Members of the Parliament to express, and we reiterated at the hearing, our opposition to gross based valuations of estates with respect to probate fees and the introduction of a tiered fees system based on those valuations. Available here is a briefing note provided by the Society to all Members of the Legislative Council ahead of the appearance. The Legislative Council has deferred its vote on the motion until 23 March 2016 to allow Honourable Members to consider the evidence put to the LRC.
13. The current increase in fees, however, represents an increase of between just under 35% and nearly 170% for the vast majority of applications for probate.
14. The fees are also now based on a gross rather than net valuation of the estate. That is unjust because it is a false valuation of the estate.
15. If a house has a gross value of $800,000 but is 80 per cent mortgaged, the real value of the estate to beneficiaries under the Will is $160,000. But they will now be charged a fee that ignores the mortgage.
19. Filing fees in SA are already well above the national average.
20. In WA, a flat fee of $304 applies.
21. In Victoria, the fee is $306