UPDATE – Probate Registry Delays 2024

CILEX (The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) have indicated that the severe delays being experienced with probate application will not improve without adequate resources. Further, CILEX have stated that they do not believe that the Probate Registry currently has the “necessary resources, capabilities or expertise to process applications for probate, including complex probate, in a timely manner”.

The waiting time for probate has almost doubled within the last financial year and despite this being out of the control of probate practitioners, it appears to reflect negatively on the professionals from a client perspective.

It is being widely reported that the delays with the issue of Grants of Representation are causing issues within the property market as sales are falling through due to the delay.  The financial consequences of the delays can be dire for the bereaved family members.

In response to the House of Commons Justice Committee inquiry into the probate service in England and Wales STEP (The Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners) are calling for increased staff and improvements in process and believe that it is reasonable to expected Grants to be issued within 28 days.

There is new management team in place at the Probate Registry according to the UK’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice and he claims this is part of the recovery plan to address the persistent delays.

From 18th January 2024 there has also been a change to the process for submission of Grants where HMRC have received a full Estate tax return which should improve processing times.

Only time will tell if the new measures will lead to significant improvements.

You can view STEP’s full consultation response here

FAKE NEWS: We don’t need Wills, we will inherit everything from each other as we are married!

It is a very common misconception that everything passes to the surviving spouse / partner upon first death.

In some cases, this will be true, for example, when the deceased does not have children or if the value of the Estate is below £322,000.

For Estates worth in excess of £322,000, where the deceased has children, the surviving spouse/partner will receive the first £322,000, the personal possessions of the deceased and 50% of the remainder of the Estate (the residue).  The other 50% of the residue is shared equally between the children of the deceased.

This may not be the wish or intention of the first spouse/partner to pass away, may have adverse tax implications and could potentially lead to claims by disappointed beneficiaries who have not been adequately provided for.

It is essential to obtain expert advice and put a suitable Will in place.  Our expert team can assist you with your Estate planning needs.

Which is more important; Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) or Wills?

We would say that they are of equal importance.

A Will ensures insofar as is possible (i.e. in the absence of any successful challenges / claims) that your wishes are carried out after your death.

Lasting Powers of Attorney give you the opportunity to appoint trusted people to make decisions on your behalf whilst you are still living, including if you are unable to make decisions for yourself due to a temporary or permanent loss of mental capacity.

Less than half of the adult population have a Will in place, but a staggering statistic is that less than 1% have LPA(s) in place. A significant percentage of the adult population have no knowledge at all of LPAs.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, one in 3 of the over 65’s in our population are living with dementia it is essential to consider making LPAs so that there is someone in place with status to make decisions regarding your financial and property affairs and your health and welfare.

Aside from dementia, there are a number of reasons why you may be unable to make a decision for yourself in the future such as cognitive impairment following stroke, brain injury or other medical conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.  Registering LPAs gives you, and those who would want to step in to assist you, peace of mind that this will be possible immediately upon there being a need for assistance.

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