Long Delays at the Probate Registry

16th August 2019

Long delays at the Probate Registry

The usual turnaround time for a grant of probate application is approximately two weeks however recent delays have meant applications are taking five to twelve weeks and in some cases, longer.

According to Lord Keen speaking in the House of Lords, there has been a 22% increase in the volume of applications leading up to the proposed increase in April 2019 (this fee increase has yet to be implemented as Parliament have not had enough time to secure it).

The Ministry of Justice has stated the delays could be due to the implementation of a new online application process which have seen problems with the software and printing systems.

It has been reported that concerns have been raised about the lack of increased resource to enable the backlog to be cleared especially at a time when staff take their holiday leave.

What is the impact?

  • Estates will take longer to administer
  • Beneficiaries will have to wait longer to receive their entitlements
  • Charity beneficiaries who rely on legacy income also must wait longer
  • Delayed sales

These delays impact the conveyancing aspect of dealing with the sale of a property or properties where sales have been agreed – as a grant of probate is required in order to exchange contracts.

Expedited applications before death are recognised and dealt with accordingly (in normal time scales) but applications made after death are not deemed as urgent which poses the risk of the property sale(s) falling through.

What can be done?

As frustrating as it is, try not to telephone enquiring about your application, this takes the time staff could be using to process applications away from doing so.

Ensure the forms are filled in correctly and completely as any queries arising from an omission or mistake will delay things further or get an experienced Probate lawyer to deal with it all for you. For more help and advice, contact our Probate team now on 01892 824577.