Severe delays at Probate Registries in England and Wales are currently experiencing severe delays on Grant of Probate and Grant of Letter of Administration applications.
Complaints from those waiting for Grants have been surfacing for several months now and at present it’s unclear how long the delays will last. In this article, we share everything we currently know about the problem.
The delays originally came after the rollout of a new IT case management system which dramatically slowed down processing applications. Despite government claims that the issues with the IT system have now been resolved, Executors, Administrators and professional estate administration providers are still waiting for Grants to be issued, leaving them unable to progress cases, or in a lot of cases even get them started.
In June 2019, the Law Society Gazette reported how a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice said: “Our new online service is making probate simpler and more convenient for bereaved people. Some grants are experiencing delays of two to four weeks and we are working hard to bring waiting times down further. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.” The Law Society Gazette also shared that before the delays, Grants were being issued within 7 to 10 working days. However, people are now reportedly suffering from delays of up to 13 weeks.
Simon Hart, MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, posed a written question to the Secretary of State for Justice: “what assessment has been made of the level of delays in the granting of probate as a consequence of the transition to the new online probate system.” On 18 June 2019, Paul Maynard, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, responded “Urgent action has been taken to address the delays which have been experienced in the probate service. Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service is increasing staffing levels and further improving the digital service to help reduce waiting times.”
Probate registries are working very hard to catch up with the backlog. They’ve added around 30 members of staff, plus additional legal experts. They’ve advised those awaiting Grants to avoid calling wherever possible as this will slow down the process.
At Will Planning Solutions, we recommend and refer probate cases to our partner Kings Court Trust, they have assured us that they are doing everything they can to lessen the impact of the delays on those who have entrusted them to take care of their estate administration. They are frequently communicating with the Probate Registries to understand their current position and to progress our applications as quickly as possible. They have also been lobbying the Ministry of Justice and the Chief Executive of HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) urging them to take this matter seriously.
Kings Court Trust is one of the UK’s leading estate administration providers and take care of the complicated practicalities after death. At Will Planning Solutions Ltd. we can provide you with a fixed price for any probate work, so important these days, there are far too many firms out there over-charging. We don’t.
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