Lockdown Causes Probate Applications To Drop

The Government has revealed that applications for grants of probate have fallen by 50% since 23rd March 2020, the date the coronavirus lockdown began.

On average, HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) usually receive between 5,000-6,000 applications from both individuals and solicitors, but revealed that the restrictions placed on the public have prevented people from accessing the information they need to progress the applications.

However, HMCTS are confident that numbers will rise, as the lockdown eases, and there may well be a surge in applications due to the number of deaths that have occurred as a result of the pandemic.

If the surge arises, HMCTS have upskilled staff who usually deal with court hearings to process probate applications. If the surge is high enough, it is said the Government will consider recruiting in this area.

Of those applications that have been entered a small proportion use the new probate application form, which HMCTS introduced in March.

Only 50 applications out of 2,000 arrived in the new format, hammering home the unpopularity of the new form.

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