Probate Delays Impact Annual Issued Grants

The issues with disseminating grants of probate last year created an 11 per cent reduction in grants of representation being issued when compared with 2018.

In total, 236,000 grants of representation were issued in 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) ‘Family Court Statistics Quarterly, England and Wales, October to December 2019 including 2019 annual trends’ report.

The government statistics claim that, by the end of the last calendar year, between 10,000 and 12,000 grants of probate were waiting to be issued.

Whilst many of these were stopped cases because of requisitions for information, a swathe of outstanding grants were attributed to the probate delays experienced throughout the second half of 2019 with issued grants falling from around 210,000 in 2018 to below 200,000.

The trend of Power of Attorney applications increasing continued in the final quarter of 2019. The 224,123 Powers of Attorney (POA) received between October and December 2019 represented an increase of 6 per cent when compared with the same quarter in 2018.

On an annual basis, the 907,134 LPAs received in 2019 represented a rise of 12 per cent when compared with 2018.

Throughout 2019, 48,970 orders were made under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA). This equated to a 28 per cent rise in orders compared to 2018. 13,094 orders were made in the final quarter of the year with almost half (44 per cent) applications for appointment of a property and affairs deputy.

Both applications and orders relating to deprivation of liberty increased in 2019. The 5,219 applications represented a rise of 15 per cent on an annual basis. Similarly, the 2,795 deprivation of liberty orders represented a rise of 8 per cent when compared with 2018.

The number of contentious probate cases contested in the Chancery Division of the High Court dealt with 21 per cent fewer cases last year. Overall, contentious probate cases fought in High Court reduced from 86 in 2018 to 68.

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