Progress but with delays
As our Probate Team operate at the coalface of the Probate Registry and HM Revenue and Customs, they are uniquely placed to comment upon both the IT improvements and frustrating delays that they are experiencing with these critical government bodies. Both have moved to streamline their processes using technology where possible and, particularly in the case of the Probate Registry, largely moved to an electronic platform to manage the Probate process. These changes have been welcomed by most Probate practitioners but they have arrived at a time when all branches of government are struggling to cope with increased workloads, reduced staffing levels through early retirement and the strains that were created by the global pandemic.
Typically, we are finding that straightforward Probate applications that can be lodged through the electronic portal take in the region of 8 to 10 weeks. This has improved recently but is still a long way behind the old manual system in which probates were usually granted within 10 days.
For the registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney, the Court body, called the Office of the Public Guardian, is suggesting that currently registrations may take up to 20 weeks to complete as opposed to the usual 5 to 6 weeks.
It is to be hoped, with technology bedding in properly, staff recruitment and improved training, that these delays will reduced to acceptable levels in the near future.
Author: Mark Francis