A three-fold rise in the cost of a death certificate could result in solicitors being unable to administer some estates, lawyers have warned. The General Register Office this month increased the cost of obtaining a certificate online from £4 to £11.

Charlotte Pritchard, a member of the private wealth team at national firm BLM, told the Gazette it is not unusual for families to require between 10-20 death certificates in order to administer an estate. She warned that where solicitors are appointed payment may need to be initially funded by the firm; particularly if no family members are able to find the up-front cash. 

‘We may see solicitors unwilling or unable to progress the administration of an estate, if funding is not available to obtain the very basic, initial confirmation of the registration of death by way of a copy death certificate from the registrar,’ Pritchard said. 

Law Society president Christina Blacklaws said the decision comes ‘hot on the heels’ of the government’s proposed increases to probate fees for many estates. ‘It seems unfair to raise the cost of death certificates as well.’