Probate delays

Posted By: on 3rd September 2019 | Category: Probate and Estate Administration

The saga of the delays in obtaining grants of probate continues, now with the added highlight of the closure of Birmingham District Probate Registry. Rumoured to have a backlog of over five weeks of applications, it will nevertheless close on 30th August and all the work will be redistributed to the other, already over-burdened, District Probate Registries.

Various explanations have been put forward by the Ministry of Justice for the continued delays (some practitioners are experiencing delays of over 13 weeks) including, but not limited to:

  1. IT issues;
  2. An increase in applications in March and April following the announcement of the proposed fees increase to a maximum of £6,000; and
  3. Mistakes in applications.

While the first two have elicited some sympathy, the latter has triggered outrage in the legal profession. The incidence of mistakes in applications cannot have increased so significantly since March that an average wait time of two weeks has increased to 13 weeks and this is widely perceived as the MoJ trying to shift the blame for a badly managed IT upgrade and closure of Probate Registries onto members of the legal profession.

Grant of Probate Delay Distress

Whatever the truth, the fact remains that bereaved families are now waiting for over three months after making their application for the issue of a document that once only took two weeks, leading to distress and complications in the administration of the estate of their lost loved one, including delays in conveyancing and the payment of inheritance tax. The complications of obtaining probate, Inheritance Tax clearance and finalising distributions were no doubt already enough for most to cope with.

Coole Bevis’ specialist probate and estate adviser Emily Wardrope can assist you with all probate and estate issues from obtaining the grant, through to administration and finalising distributions. Call 01273 722532 or email to set up a consultation.

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