Probate Registry address delays in issuing Grants

Rebecca Parr

The combination of the proposed fee increase for applications and a significant change to IT systems are reported to have caused the current delays in issuing grants of probate.

Probate is the procedure that executors have to go through to administer the estate of someone who has passed away. Typically, the executors arrange for any expenses such as outstanding bills to be cleared, for legacies to be paid for beneficiaries, and for property to be put on the market if necessary. 

Executors have to apply to the court for a grant of probate, before they are able to deal with banks, DWP, insurance companies, or others, on behalf of the deceased person. It is therefore very important to family members and to beneficiaries that there are not undue delays in probate being granted. 

Leading up to April 2019, there was a 22% increase in the number of applications for grants of probate being made. Despite some 98,000 grants having been processed since then, there is a still a backlog, with grants taking between five and twelve weeks to be issued, as opposed to the usual turnaround of two weeks for professional applicants.

As a result of the delay in issuing grants, estates are taking much longer to administer, with beneficiaries and creditors having to wait longer for to be paid. There has also been a knock on effect for property sales requiring a grant.

In order to address the problem, around 20% extra staff have been taken on  with HMCTS aiming to return to pre March service levels during January. 

Dealing with a grant of probate can be very stressful, without the addition of having to wait weeks and even months to be able to start work administering the estate of a loved-one, or a deceased client. 

If you are struggling to deal with probate, and you require some assistance, we can help. We have decades of experience helping clients who are trying to deal with the adminstration of an estate. Contact us today if you would like to have a chat about the procedure, and to find out how we can help.