Legacy Body Confronts HMCTS On Probate Delays

Institute of Legacy Management (ILM) have urgently contacted HMCTS to find out why applications for a Grant of Probate are taking up to 3 months to progress as the prolonged delay is causing a massive headache amongst probate professionals and leaving their grieving clients in financial limbo.

ILM is aware that many of their members are experiencing ongoing delays with applications for a Grant of Probate. In some cases this is taking up to 12 weeks, rather than the week to ten days which used to be the case.

ILM has spoken with HMCTS and they have assured them that they are doing all they can to cope with the backlog, including employing 30 extra members of staff and taking additional legal advice to help with the authorisation of grants.

The reasons that HMCTS are experiencing these issues are due to a sharp rise in applications for a Grant of Probate in March and April of this year, as well as the introduction of a new case management system, which required staff training and therefore caused further delays.

HMCTS is aware of the impact that these delays are having on charities, including ILM members, and as a result, are prioritising this work and have told ILM that they hope to catch up with the backlog by the end of August, if not sooner.

ILM will continue to speak with HMCTS on this issue to ensure that these deadlines are being met and that their members will soon see an end to these issues.

Last month, The Law Society also confronted HMCTS over probate delays and implored HMCTS to provide regular and improved levels of communications to probate practitioners, executors, and grieving families.

At the time The Law Society spoke to HMCTS, they confirmed that the majority of applications are currently taking between six and eight weeks to process and since 25th March, 45,000 grants have been issued and the delays are declining.

However, after contacting all probate registries for England and Wales last month, Today’s Wills and Probate were informed that, as of 24th May, the Winchester Probate Registry was currently working on cases from 1st April 2019 – which would imply that up to May 24th, the backlog was actually 12 weeks.

HMCTS have asked those waiting for completed applications to avoid contacting any probate registry unless an outstanding form surpasses eight weeks.

Have you experienced delays? Are the applications you have made taking up to 12 weeks? How has this impacted on you and your clients?

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