Probate delays: how long will I have to wait?

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The delays at the Probate Registries in issuing grants of representation are being widely mentioned in the media.

The delays started in 2019 when there was a proposed probate fee increase which meant the probate service received a huge number of applications in a very short period of time. This coincided with new processing procedures which were introduced at the probate registries along with the announced closure of regional probate registries.  Applications for a grant slipped from 2 weeks to at least 12 weeks (and sometimes longer).

There were also delays at HMRC (caused by the large number of applications) and, where an estate was taxable,  timescales for the return of the IHT receipt were taking at least 5 working weeks. For a taxable estate this meant it could take 3 – 4 months to obtain a grant.

By early this year, HMRC and the probate registry were starting to reduce the timescales.  However, the impact of Covid 19 with reduced staff at HMRC and the probate registry has meant that timescales have slipped again.

Since lockdown, HMRC and the probate registry have introduced new procedures to help cut the timescales.  HMRC have introduced the use of typed signatures on IHT returns where a professional such as IBB are instructed and they will send the IHT receipt direct to the probate registry rather than to us direct.  The probate registry have extended the online probate application to professionals. The probate registry have said this may not reduce the time it takes to process the applications but it does mean the progress can be tracked.

At IBB, we have been using the online probate application process since the end of April and we are now receiving the first Grants from the probate registry which is very good news indeed.

Whilst there are delays at HMRC and the probate registry, it is business as usual for our private client team and whilst we have no control over the external delays we are doing what we can to keep those delays to a minimum.  We can exchange documents with you by email, we can have virtual meetings with the Executors to review the IHT papers and we can process the probate application online (where possible).  In these trying times, we are here to help and we will do what we can to support you through this difficult time.

Speak to our probate experts today.

If you would like to speak to one of our private client team about estate administration, wills, lasting powers of attorney, IHT planning or trusts then please call on 03456 381381 or complete the enquiry form.