Delays with Probate Registry

Nationwide delays at the Probate Registries this year have been causing frustration to the public and legal practitioners alike. It is now typical to face a wait of up to thirteen weeks for probate to be granted from the date that the application was first submitted to the registry.

A recent article published by the Daily Telegraph has highlighted an unfortunate consequence of the delays to those estates subject to inheritance tax. – Families are now potentially facing additional interest charges in excess of 3%, attracted by overdue inheritance tax.

Unfortunately, increasing tax bills are not the only problem caused by the delays at the probate registries. – The starting point is that it is not possible to do anything with a deceased person’s estate before probate has been granted. These delays mean that a deceased person’s creditors are having to wait longer to be paid, often leading to further interest accruing on the debts.

Beneficiaries are also having to wait longer to receive their inheritance. This is frustrating for any beneficiary, however charities that rely largely on gifts in wills for their income have been hit particularly hard recently.

It is also not permitted to exchange contracts in a sale of land without probate. This means that lots of land transactions have been delayed and many purchases are falling through because the buyers are understandably losing patience.

Unfortunately there is very little that solicitors acting on behalf of a deceased person’s personal representatives can do to speed up the process. The Law Society, which represents the legal profession as a whole, is in regular consultation with HM Courts Service to try to resolve the problems.

Given the significant delays, however, it is more important than ever to consider seeking legal advice before applying for probate. You have to ensure that your application for probate is correct the first time. If there are mistakes, and your application is refused after waiting for thirteen weeks, you will go straight to the back of the queue when your application is re-submitted. Involving a solicitor will prevent such mistakes from being made and ensure that there are no further unnecessary delays.

If you require assistance with applying for probate, please contact a member of the Price Slater Gawne team on 0161 615 5554 or by email to info@psg-law.co.uk today.