Earlier this year, concerns that Probate Court fees were going to rise in April led to a sharp increase in applications. Unfortunately, however, HMCTS experienced a software glitch at around the same time which led to a build up of probate applications, with Grants of Probate typically taking around 10-12 weeks to be processed.
At present the current turnaround time, according to HMCTS, is down to 4 weeks (which more or less matches our experience), and should be further reduced to 2 weeks by Christmas. But HMCTS made a similar announcement earlier in the year, stating that they would be able to meet the 2 week time estimate by November.
HMCTS is also working to clear halted applications that are causing blockages in the system, and they’re hoping to introduce an online probate application in Welsh in 2020. This would also mean that it would be possible to issue bilingual grants in both Welsh and English.
According to HMCTS, solicitors and lay people should direct all enquiries to the Birmingham Courts and Tribunal Service Centre and not their local registries.
To briefly summarise, a Grant of Probate is necessary for anyone who has died with a Will (Letter of Administration of anyone who dies intestate), and they’re important for a number of reasons. For example, if someone leaves a house in their Will, or dies intestate, without a Grant, then you can’t sell the property. For this reason (amongst others) delays can be a source of much unhappiness in recently bereaved families where Executors are a part of the family.
For more information on Probate Delays, see our previous post here. Or contact Fiona Grogan, one of our Probate and Estate Administration specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.