25 May 2023
  • The word probate is spelled out using scrabble tiles

Probate Delays Will Hinder the Process

Delays in processing grants of probate have extended the method of administering an estate by at least eight weeks.

That’s the findings of a study by Which? that found of the 26,636 grants of probate conducted in March, 21,232 were digitally submitted and suffered a lag of, on average, 8.2 weeks.

The paper option of submission was even worse, taking an average of 21.1 weeks to process.

That doesn’t factor in the potential for delays due to other common factors, such as missing supporting documents, queries about the condition of the will and applications being submitted too soon after sending corresponding information to HMRC.

A surge in applications since the onset of the pandemic isn’t expected to ease until the end of this summer.

These latest statistics make it even more important to get the process conducted correctly the first time of asking, to avoid lengthy delays.

Rebecca Harbron Gray, Winn Solicitors’ Head of Wills, Probate and Trust, said: “I really wish the Probate Registry would expand their list of services that can be offered online as currently, the parameters are quite narrow meaning that a lot of people are falling into the categories of a paper application thus taking much longer for all.

“There is so much inconsistency in dealing with applications too. Some applications I have seen take four weeks and some 20-plus weeks for no reason or difference.

“The Probate Registry used to react well to probate applications needed in the middle of a house sale, or if there were any urgent factors for the need for the Grant, but we just don’t see that anymore.

“I long for the day when the online applications are effectively managed but the Probate Registry has a long way to go to achieve that.  I am sceptical that this will just take until the end of the summer to resolve.

“Having a law firm involved can really help get accuracy at the first application and keep the Probate Registry moving the application through their processes as without serious chasing we see the applications are often left to lag.”

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