Probate during the Coronavirus pandemic

Earlier this year, we published a blog about the planned closure of a number of probate registry offices throughout the UK, in favour of a more centralised service.

The closures sparked concern that the backlog of applications and long delays associated with obtaining a grant of probate, caused by the probate fee fiasco that played out in the years previous, would only be made worse.

I am of the opinion that the centralisation will be a good thing, in the long-run, both for families awaiting a grant of probate and for probate practitioners acting on behalf of the bereaved, since the system has long been calling out for consistency and a joined up approach.

However, when we first read about the closures none of us could have anticipated how the next few months would look.

With the onset of a worldwide pandemic taking us all by surprise, suddenly such a significant reorganisation could have come at a better time.

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, considering the rising death toll and subsequent potential for increased demand for the service as lockdown eases, the HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has already warned that probate applications are taking longer than usual to process.

What is Probate?

Probate is concerned with carrying out the wishes of an individual who has passed away. It is the process whereby an executor is given the legal authority to administer a deceased’s estate. Read up on more of the most common probate questions we get asked, in our FAQ guide.

With HMCTS’ warning in mind, if you need to apply for probate following a recent bereavement, we would encourage you to start the process sooner rather than later.

The process of obtaining probate, as well as all that follows, can be a complicated and often time-consuming process. Add this to the fact that it is already an emotionally challenging time, and it is easy to understand why so many families and individuals often choose to appoint professional probate practitioners, such as GH Probate Ltd., to assist.

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.

Despite the current social distancing measures in place, we are still here and working hard to progress probate applications and estate administration for our clients.

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 only charge for what we do, and we do not add on a percentage fee based on the value of the estate. We work together with you and ensure that you are always kept up-to-date on 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.

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

 

Share this article

Post attributed to

Barry Jefferd

Senior Partner
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn