Probate Delays - what to expect and how to prepare

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13 March 2024

Probate Delays - what to expect and how to prepare


Those applying for probate are expected to face a wait of up to 16 weeks following submission, owing to unprecedented delays through the probate system. Coupled with HMRC reporting requirements and the time taken to complete submissions, that means it’s commonly taking nine months or more to obtain the grant of probate.


This added time can pile extra stress and financial pressure on what is often a deeply upsetting and challenging time following the death of a loved one. A recent survey by the Law Society pointed to multiple factors which are thought to have contributed to the issue, including; the online portal itself, poor response times, a lack of staff and limited staff knowledge and training.


The issue has attracted significant media attention, and the House of Commons justice committee announced recently that it would launch an inquiry into the matter.


So, what can you do to mitigate the impact of these delays?


Firstly, we’d always recommend consulting a qualified solicitor when making an application for probate. Applications can be delayed for a number of reasons, such as an application which does not account for all named executors (e.g. where they have predeceased or renounced their appointment) or incorrect timing of a probate application in relation to the HMRC IHT submission. A qualified solicitor can help you to avoid these pitfalls.


A solicitor can also help by monitoring key milestones and regularly checking progress with the Probate Registry.


Ensuring you have a professionally prepared will in place will avoid your own estate going to intestacy should you die, and it should help ensure the process progresses as quickly as it can, without additional and unnecessary delay. 


It remains to be seen just how long the delays at the probate registry will continue, and whilst it’s frustrating that applicants continue to experience such delays, there are things we can do to at least ensure no additional and unnecessary delays are incurred.


If you’d like to chat to one of our probate experts, get in touch today on 01924 387171

Joanna Longfellow