Concerns for the Future of the Probate Registries
There are currently long delays at the probate registry which have, in part, been caused by the fear of an imminent probate fee increase. This has therefore resulted in a larger than usual influx of Grant applications and also the introduction of a new online application system for personal representatives and new style Grants of Probate.
Following a registrars’ reunion over the weekend concerns have been raised over the extensive changes to the probate system that are afoot. All probate registries have been placed on notice that they will close within the next six months and all applications will be sent to one centralised location in Birmingham. It is understood that all grant applications will then be outsourced to a private company and checked by newly trained examiners whilst many long-standing probate registry members of staff will be made redundant.
There are already printing issues and delays caused by the introduction of the new style Grants and further issues are foreseen over the coming months as the changes to the probate system continue.
Personal representatives are currently being warned that the processing time for Grants of Probate has increased from two weeks to at least two months (and in some cases up to four months), causing a delay in the administration of estates and potential problems with the sale of properties that are unable to proceed until a Grant is received. These delays are causing frustration for personal representatives, beneficiaries and anybody else involved in the probate process and it is unknown how long it will be before matters stabilise.