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Probate Update – October 2019

Daniel Prince, Private Client Solicitor at Kirkham Legal, reports that the Government has now backed down on the highly unpopular proposal to increase Probate Court fees to, in some cases, thousands of pounds.

“When the Government introduced their proposals, they were met with wide spread criticism from the legal profession, with many labelling it has a “stealth tax”, hitting people who had no option but to pay as in many cases probate is needed to deal with the assets of a deceased person.  Thankfully, common sense has prevailed and the proposed new fees have been withdrawn,” says Daniel.

There has also been significant issues within the Probate Registry recently, causing lengthy delays in the granting of Grants of Probate, which have caused considerable problems for Executors or proposed Administrators in trying to realise assets within the estate and particularly in selling estate houses.

“These delays occurred for 2 reasons,” explains Daniel, “Firstly, there was a rush for probate applications to beat the aforementioned hike in probate fees, and secondly, the introduction of a new computerised system which had, by the sounds of it, massive teething problems.  At the height of the crisis, I waited 14 weeks for a Grant, compared to the previous timescale of 2-3 weeks.  My most recent application took 7 weeks, and the Probate Registry is now clearing their backlog and have predicted the timescale will be reduced further, and hopefully back to the 2-3 weeks timescale, in the near future.  I sincerely hope that this is true, as these issues have caused a great deal of unnecessary stress for many people at which is already an upsetting time.  Time will tell.”

If you wish to discuss any probate issues, feel free to contact Daniel at Kirkham Legal.

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