Probate registries are experiencing significant delays in issuing Grants of Probate. In the past, applications for a Grant usually took up to 2 weeks, but currently applications are taking 12 weeks and longer to process.
The delays are a culmination of a number of factors including the closure of regional probate registries, changes to the internal systems and the simultaneous outbreak of COVID-19. The probate registries have been working with a reduced workforce due to the furlough scheme and a large percentage of their staff are working remotely. The probate registries appear to be working with limited telephone lines and it has become incredibly difficult to even obtain an update on an application once it has been sent.
When dealing with a taxable estate, HM Revenue & Customs have added to the delays by at times taking over 5 weeks to issue inheritance tax receipts.
Some measures have been implemented to try and tackle the delays, including taking applications online. HM Revenue & Customs are also accepting digital signatures and will submit the inheritance tax receipt directly to the relevant probate registry.
Despite these delays, we are on hand to provide assistance in applying for probate and should you have any questions in regards to applying for a Grant of Probate in a deceased’s estate, please contact Christa Foster on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01689887884 who will be happy to arrange a meeting with one of our experienced lawyers.