Clash over probate delays

All probate lawyers will tell you how much harder their job currently is with the long delays from HMRC and the Probate Registries.

There has been a clash between HM Courts & Tribunals and the Law Society Committee after solicitors were blamed for the delays due to incorrect or incomplete applications. Whilst this could be the situation in some cases, it does not count for all. It fails to report that emails and calls are unanswered by the Probate Registries, nor does it mention the number of Grants that have been sent out with incorrect information.

In my opinion pointing fingers does not help. It does nothing to alleviate the situation, and not reporting the actual situation is not assisting anyone.

Jonathan Wood, national services director, wrote in a blog: ‘A considerable number of applications for probate have to be stopped because we need further information or assurance before we can issue a grant of probate.
‘We don’t count the time from stopping until we get the responses back… But it is clear that when applications are stopped it adds to the time it takes us to process.’

Referring to the original cause of the delays, Wood wrote: ‘When we first migrated work to one of our new back-office systems we hit teething problems… In the normal run of things it would not have significantly affected our service times for an extended period. But volumes [of applications] soared in the spring – more than a 50% increase during March and April compared with usual monthly volumes.’