Increased Grant applications cause delays
Delays to Grant of Probate applications in England and Wales continue. A recent STEP article reports that 23,572 applications were received by HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) in January 2022. This is an increase of 5,297 (29%) on the 18,275 applications received in December 2021 for probate. The article also states that 2021 was the second-highest year in the past ten years for Grants issued.
The Law Society recently summarised an update from HMCTS. The summary reports that in January 2022:
- Digital applications took 15.8 weeks from submission to Grant of Probate being issued when a stop occurred, compared to 4.2 weeks without stops
- Paper applications took 21.5 weeks from submission to Grant of Probate being issued when a stop occurred, compared to 9.8 weeks without stops
HMCTS has stated that they’re continuously recruiting new members of staff to help with the backlog. They also claim that this backlog is not increasing and that receipts are being managed efficiently. However, Personal Representatives, beneficiaries, and legal professionals should anticipate delays in the meantime.
To avoid delaying the process further, action can be taken to reduce the risk of a stopped Grant application, such as checking the following:
- The Inheritance Tax forms have been submitted to HMRC 20 working days before applying for probate (HMCTS need this to process applications)
- All details have been proofread and the names match those on the Will
- Any Executors who are not signing the application are cleared off
- The statement of truth and forms have been signed where required
- The correct fee has been paid