Probate applications drop during lockdown

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has revealed, to probate practitioners, that the volume of probate applications has fallen during lockdown.

Normally, they would receive around 5,000-6,000 submissions a week. Since the lockdown was imposed, however, numbers have halved – a trend that applies to both personal and professional applications.

As lockdown eases though, it surely follows that submissions will ramp up once more; particularly when we take into consideration the number of deaths occurring as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

HMCTS says that it is prepared for a ‘surge’. Furthermore, should demand be high enough, it will consider additional recruitment.

However, probate applications are currently taking longer than usual to process and delays are likely to continue as demand rises.

With that said, if you need to start probate following a recent bereavement, consider doing so sooner rather than later. A proactive approach may protect you against getting stuck in a ‘backlog’ further down the line.

New ‘legal statement’ set to streamline process

As part of the digitalisation of the probate process, the requirement to draft a ‘statement of truth’ has been replaced. Now, a legal statement will be signed by the applicants, or authorised person, and incorporated within the relevant PA1 form. The form will be provided upon application for a grant of probate or letters of administration.

From 18 May, only applications using the new forms will be accepted by HMCTS.

The importance of probate services, at an unprecedented time

“It is important that we are on hand to support those individuals and families faced with bereavement at such an unprecedented time.

The restrictions have undoubtedly impacted some of our working practices and made some of the simpler tasks a little trickier; for example, retrieving wills where they are kept elsewhere.

Despite the current social distancing measures in place, our probate experts in Huntingdon and Letchworth are still contactable. We are working hard to progress probate applications and estate administration for our clients across Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and further afield.”

How can GH Probate Ltd. help?

The process of obtaining probate, as well as all that follows, can be a complicated and often time-consuming process. This is often true unless the estate you are dealing with is anything other than straightforward. Add this to the fact that the aftermath of a bereavement is already an emotionally challenging time and it is easy to understand why so many families and individuals choose to appoint professional probate practitioners to assist them.

We can take on as many or as few of the functions of the executor roles as you wish; from identifying assets and liabilities of the estate, applying for probate and preparing estate tax returns, to dealing with final estate accounts, overseeing the distribution of assets, and determining whether Inheritance Tax is payable.

By using GH Probate Ltd., you can rest assured that everything will be carried out correctly, with compassion and discretion, and delays will be minimised. We work together with you, ensuring that you always know how an estate is progressing.

You can read more about our Probate & Estates services here and, if you’d like to discuss your circumstances in confidence with one of our professional probate practitioners based in Huntingdon or Letchworth, give us a call today.

Article authored by Huntingdon-based Probate Director, Barry Jefferd.

Our Probate service is provided through GH Probate Limited. For more information about our services please contact us or email us at probate@georgehay.co.uk.

GH Probate is the trading style of GH Probate Limited. Registered in England and Wales number 9630102. Registered Office: St George’s House, George Street, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE29 3GH.

Authorised to carry out the reserved legal activity of non-contentious probate in England and Wales by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales.

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