The probate process takes a long time after you've laid flowers on a loved one's gravestone.
Concerns continue about probate application delays. The government says it has put measures in place to speed up the probate process
Despite the government’s target to complete probate applications within 16 weeks, delays mean it can still take up to a year. 
TThe probate service saw an increase in applications throughout 2022 and this continued in 2023. Reportedly the average processing time once all documents have been provided was 13 weeks from July to September 2023. Last month’s report from the UK Care Guide says the current average is around 15 weeks from submission to grant. However, the whole process continues to take nine to 12 months. 

What’s the government doing to speed up probate? 

To address the backlog His Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) says it has put several measures in place. These include increased staff numbers, better internal processes, and improvements for digital probate applications. 
It’s reported that 15,500 more grants were issued than applications received from September to December 2023. 
However, timescales can vary widely, depending on estate size and complexity. Other factors include whether there’s a Will, the amount of inheritance tax due, and disputes about the Will or estate. Good organisation is also really important for estate executors to keep the process on track. 
If someone dies without a Will, their estate is handled according to the intestacy rules and this can take much longer. It requires an application to the probate registry for a grant of letters of administration
Before issuing the grant of probate Inheritance Tax must be paid. This can take some time, especially if the payment relies on funds from a property sale, for example. 
Delays also occur if HMRC wants additional information about an estate’s value. 

Assistance with probate 

I provide a Probate Assist service to support you when a loved one dies. You can apply for probate as an Executor named in their Will or as a family member or friend. This allows you to administer their estate as they would have wished. 
One or more named people can receive legal authority to close bank accounts, sell property, settle debts and to do anything else needed to finalise their loved one’s affairs. 
You must deal with paperwork, bureaucracy, property matters and personal items and it is a daunting prospect. 
I can help with the details, starting with a visit to your home or via a video or phone call. You stay in control throughout, but I am available to explain what’s needed and to guide you step by step. 
Please get in touch if you would like to know more about Probate Assist. 
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