Probate delays: 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.
UPDATE 19th August 2019
Birmingham Probate Registry is closing on 31st August. We understand paper applications have been sent to Newcastle. Others will be dealt with by Courts & Tribunals Service Centres (CTSCs) one of which is apparently in Birmingham.
UPDATE 5th July 2019
As of Friday, I can advise you that,
We (the Probate Registry, not us!) are currently working on issuing grants on applications which required no follow up (eg IHT421 or resolution to a query) which were received on 24 April and issuing applications where a follow-up or resolution was required and that resolution was received 24 April.
Settlings received on 13 May and pre-lodgement queries received on 13 May are currently being looked at.
We have recently moved to a new system and are working our way through a backlog of applications. In the meantime, we would ask you not to commit to a completion deadline when putting properties on the market to sale as we may not be able to accommodate these until the backlog has cleared.
All cases are being processed in date order. Please note all registries are working to the same time scales and if need be, work is being shared to ensure that all Registries are issuing around the same date.
Please only contact us if the matter is extremely urgent eg. you have court proceedings listed or a house sale where the date for completion has been fixed and is within the next week. A copy of the Court listing and evidence of the completion of contract date will be required (ie a draft copy of the contract showing the completion date is required, an email stating a date will not be accepted)
We are unable to expedite an application for any other reason.
Please be assured we are doing all we can to process these cases as quickly as possible. PROBATE REGISTRY
Trouble getting hold of the Probate Registry? Probate Delays UPDATE 3rd July 2019
Summary: Probate delays currently around 11 weeks from the time the Probate Registry has received completed documents with all information and payment.
Update from the Probate Registry: Dear Customer
As you are already aware the Probate Service is currently experiencing an unprecedented backlog. Don’t bother chasing as long as you know the documents have been received and payment taken, all should be well. If you must chase, email rather than phone. We’ll be pleased to send you contact details, just use the enquiry form to the right and ask for the List of Registries.
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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