The Probate Registries have been hit by a perfect storm – cutbacks, new technology, many offices closed and then to top it all the threat of a MASSIVE rise in fees provoking applicants to get applications in months earlier than would normally be the case.
Trouble getting hold of the Probate Registry? UPDATE 29.5.19
Update from the Probate Registry: Dear Customer
As you are already aware the Probate Service is currently experiencing an unprecedented backlog.
We are, at present, working on applications received on 27th March 2019 and correspondence received on 26th March 2019. All cases are being processed in date order. Please note that if any further documentation or the IHT421 was sent to the registry after the application this will have been treated as correspondence.
Please be assured we are doing all we can to process these cases as quickly as possible. In order to facilitate this please note that the telephone lines at ALL probate Registries will be unavailable from 2 pm onwards on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the foreseeable future. This will take effect from today (30th May).
As previously advised please only contact us if the matter is extremely urgent.
We thank you for your patience.
Winchester DPR| HMCTS | 1st Floor Southside Offices | The Law Courts | Winchester | SO23 9EL
Phone: 01962 814100
This is the situation as we understand it:
STOP PRESS 1 Now we are told something quite different: a series of specialist centres “CTSC” – Court & Tribunal Service Centres are being set up, the first being at Birmingham which will be dealing with online applications at a different address, 54 Hagley Road, Birmingham B16 8PE – we have been unable to find any further contact details as yet (let us know if you do!) We understand this one is operational. A further one will be opening at Stoke at Bennett House, Town Rd, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 2QB at any time, and others will follow including Loughborough late 2019 early 2020, but probably with different roles. What will happen to existing Registries is unknown but one suspects the idea is to sell off as much as possible then rent to provide a temporary cashflow advantage.
STOP PRESS 2 – We are told that the backlog has largely been dealt with and current applications should be dealt with in less than a month. This is what we previously reported: Registries OVERWHELMED with demand. You will NOT get an update on your application from them as we understand it, just a recorded message! They are just concentrating on getting cases through without interruption. All applicants can do is sit and wait. We are told by the public that Grants can take well over 3 months (4 not being uncommon) we are told) instead of 2 to 4 weeks to be issued. Phone payments – one solicitor’s experience was over 5 hours to get through to the payment line!
ADVICE: Play it safe, triple check the forms, send by recorded or special delivery, pay by cheque or bank draft and check that is paid in by the Registry. Then sit and wait. We suspect waiting times would come down if everyone was not chasing up their grants!
Horrendous increases in Court Fees as from a yet not confirmed (but means that Lifetime Planning is critical, even if it is fairly last minute. Our resident experts can help.) Maybe the vast increases have gone away – but we doubt it! They make better Lifetime Planning essential.
UPDATE May 2019: the new tax has to be passed by Parliament, and then 21 days notice given.
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