HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has admitted that probate delays continue to increase for digital and paper applications, even where there aren’t any reasons for them to be stopped. 
Allow for dealys when applying for grant of probate
The average time taken from submission to a grant being issued was 9.3 weeks in September 2022. These are the longest delays since October 2021 and represent an increase of 5.7% since August, even though the number of submissions fell by more than 2,000. 
Almost 22,000 grants were issued in September and eight out of 10 of these were submitted digitally. On average, digital submissions took 7.2 weeks and for those that weren’t stopped because of errors, inaccuracies or incomplete information it was 4.2 weeks. Stopped applications took an average of 15.2 days to resolve. Paper applications are typically taking much longer than online submissions. 
Unfortunately, alongside these delays there has been little information provided to families about the causes or when they can expect probate to be granted. 

While you’re waiting for grant of probate 

As we’re warned to expect much colder weather, you might want to take some steps to help protect an estate which is in administration while you wait for probate to be granted, especially if an unoccupied property is involved. 
Security – it will be well worth checking property doors and windows to make sure they can be securely locked. If you’re the Executor you should ideally keep the keys with you rather than leaving them at the property and, if possible, visit regularly so that any problems can be discovered and resolved quickly. 
Insurance – as an Executor you will need to protect the assets in the estate, so it’s important to check with insurers to confirm they are aware that the policy holder has died. You will need to confirm that the policy is up to date and fully covers property and other assets. The insurance company might want to review the policy if the property is empty for more than 30 days because it will be considered at higher risk. 
You might be required to prepare the property for winter by turning off water at the mains and draining water tanks and pipes. Alternatively, it might be a requirement to run central heating to maintain a constant low temperature. 
Maintenance – while funds might not be available from the estate while you’re waiting for probate to be granted, carrying out required maintenance work will help to keep the property in good condition ready for sale or rent as soon as possible. Keep good records so you can reclaim any costs once probate has been granted. 
If there’s a Will you can start to sort out possessions and identify specific items intended for beneficiaries although they shouldn’t be removed from the property until probate is granted. 
If you would like some help or advice about the probate process, please get in touch. 
Tagged as: Executors, Probate, property
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