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Inheritances face further delays as probate waits hit new highs

Jordan McLean
Written by
Jordan McLean
Inheritances face further delays as probate waits hit new highs

If you’re due an inheritance, it’s now taking even longer for you to receive it as the average wait for grant of probate has stretched to over 10 weeks. 

The delay in processing applications for probate has largely been driven by digital applications, which saw average wait times climb from 6.9 weeks in November 2022 to 7.6 weeks in December. Traditional paper applications actually saw a reduction in wait times from 20.4 weeks in November 2022 to 19.6 weeks in December. However, when combined with digital applications the total average wait has climbed to 10.2 weeks, up from 9.4 weeks the month before. 

This means that the average person applying for a grant of probate can expect to wait around 2 and a half months before grant is issued.  

These delays mean that the wait between the passing of a loved one and the receiving of an inheritance can take even longer than expected, but more concerning is the impact this is having on executors who are faced with an Inheritance Tax (IHT) bill. Given that the process of probate usually takes between 6 – 12 months to complete when granted, these delays are most unwelcome – especially when you consider that HMRC start charging interest on an unsettled IHT bill 6 months after a person’s death. 

As a result of these increasing delays in the probate process, there is growing pressure on ministers to extend the current 12-month claims window for loss relief on share price falls for Inheritance Tax. In a recent letter to parliament, the Association of Taxation Technicians noted that executors are increasingly “losing the opportunity to claim relief from IHT”, before requesting that the current 12-month window “be extended to a two-year period, or at least an 18-month period from the date of death, on a permanent or temporary basis.” 

Jim Sisson, Chief Financial Officer at Tower Street Finance said: “The current delays in the probate process faced by executors are exacerbating what can already be a slow and emotionally difficult process. Worse still, they mean that more and more people risk falling foul of IHT interest from HMRC, or of missing out on the potential for loss relief on share prices, through no fault of their own. 

“It’s because of situations like this that we developed our Probate Lending products, including IHT Loans and Inheritance Advance, to help executors of estate to settle their IHT liabilities and to cut down on the lengthy delays that beneficiaries can face in receiving the benefits of their inheritance.” 

Tower Street Finance are the experts in probate lending, with solutions that can help settle an IHT bill. Find out more about our Inheritance Tax Loan  and Inheritance Advance products, or call us on 0343 504 7100

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