Probate Court delays explained
What is probate?
Probate is the process of applying for a Court Order to get permission to carry out the wishes in a will and to administer a person’s estate once they have passed away. If you are appointed as an executor in a Will, there are rules that set out how you notify the authorities and distribute the estate. To cash in or sell certain assets, such as property, bank accounts and investments you may need to apply for a grant of probate.
What are the delays?
From March 2019 there have been lengthy delays at the Probate Registry with them taking up to 13 weeks from receipt of the application to sending out the grant of probate. Previously this process took around two weeks.
What are the reasons for the delays?
A large volume of applications were submitted to the probate registries in March/April 2019 ahead of the planned increases to probate fees, which has caused a backlog. (The increased fees have not yet been implemented).
The probate registries have implemented a new online probate applications process, which has come with various IT glitches. There have been insufficient resources at the probate registries to clear the backlogs.
What are the consequences of the delays?
It is taking longer to access the money in an estate which means that creditors are waiting longer to be paid and beneficiaries are waiting longer to receive their money.
House sales are delayed and, in some cases, are falling through. We have been advising clients selling estate property to be up front with the estate agent and the buyer from the start of the process and not to exchange until probate has been granted.
What are the options?
We have been selected to pilot an online system for solicitors for simple applications which can be processed by the court within 20 working days. If you are interested in finding out more please get in touch.
From March 2019 there have been lengthy delays at the Probate Registry with them taking up to 13 weeks from receipt of the application to sending out the grant of probate
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