We know that it can take around 9 to 12 months (or even longer) for the probate process to complete and there are a number of reasons why delays have been more of an issue over the past year.
There was a spike in applications after the proposed increase in probate fees was announced – this was subsequently scrapped. Then there was the centralising of the national courts and tribunals function which saw 18 probate sub-registries close.
Just when the probate sector was getting on top of things the pandemic struck which 73 per cent of probate administrators said caused more delays to an already slow system.
And the latest cause is the introduction of online applications. From 2 November all grants of probate – if there’s a will – have to be made online using MyHMCTS.
Experts warn that while there is a two-tier system in operation, i.e. online where there’s a will and the current manual process for intestacy cases, there’s a risk that the former cases will be prioritised.
A letter to The Guardian highlighted how one small error can hold things up for months. After the reader’s father died in February the application for probate was submitted in June, and the grant is now needed to exchange on the sale of his home. But it’s being held up because a single page of the will hadn’t been scanned.
Dicky Davies, business development director of Tower Street Finance says: “We recognised that the length of time it takes to get the Grant of Probate was a huge issue when we designed our Inheritance Advance product. There are many reasons why people might want to get their inheritance earlier and the delays in the process quite often take people by surprise.
“Inheritance Advance means beneficiaries don’t have to wait – we can have the funds turned around for them in as little as 48 hours of it being approved.”