The number of probate cases being managed by adults aged between 18 and 44 years old has increased by over 10% over the past twelve months, and nearly 40% over the course of the last two years according to the latest instalment of the Bereavement Index.
The recently released 2023 Bereavement Index by Exizent has looked into the latest sentiment around the practical and emotional challenges of dealing with bereavement and has identified that 78% of people responsible for managing probate were aged between 18 and 44 years old, compared to 71% of the same age group in 2022 and 56% in 2021.
The latest research, the third annual report Exizent have conducted, continues to identify the financial and mental health and well-being challenges those going through probate face; nearly 4 in 5 say they faced financial difficulties paying for the process and two-thirds said their mental health was affected as a result of the process.
Reassuringly for practitioners, the report identifies high levels of dependence on legal advice throughout the process with 66% of respondents saying they had used a professional to apply for probate, and 92% saying they would make the same decision again.
In addition to the emotional impact on those going through probate, the report also surveys law firms and probate practitioners on their view of current market conditions. 94% of firms said they believe their firm could deal with probate more efficiently, with four key tasks taking up the most amount time identified as
- Awaiting responses from other institutions (21%)
- Gathering estate details (21%)
- Administration (15%)
- Drafting IHT and Court Forms (12%)
When discussing how things could be improved, the report suggests that better communication between law firms and institutions, and law firms and executors; faster response times from government agencies like HMCTS and HMRC; and dedicated technology solutions would all be beneficial to the process. Just 1 in 5 practitioners surveyed use dedicated probate management software and workflows according to the report.
The practicalities of probate continue to pose challenges for firms with 1 in 4 firms admitting to be “under-resourced and struggling with workload,” the knock on impact of which is the inability to invest the time and resources into solutions which could generate efficiency. Nearly a third of firms recognised they “did not have the time or resources to implement new software” (28%) and just under 20% of firms felt that budget was prohibitive.
Commenting on the report, Nick Cousins, Co-founder, and CEO of Exizent said:
“Following the loss of a loved one, the last thing individuals need is a lengthy estate administration process that causes them additional stress including both mentally and financially. But sadly, the Bereavement Index findings this year prove that there remains a long way to go for this not to be the case.
The good news is that I know from conversations with financial services companies over the last year that many are planning to improve their processes associated with a customer’s death – and our research backs this up. The benefits of doing so are now recognised in meeting regulatory obligations, improving operational efficiency, and importantly because it is the right thing to do. I look forward to Exizent helping them through our software in 2024.”
Aleks Tomczyk, Co-founder and Managing Director of Exizent added:
“Improving the experience of bereavement processes for all involved is Exizent’s core purpose. The Bereavement Index is a unique study that helps us all understand the ‘state of the nation’ and what can be practically done to improve matters for all. We hope that all stakeholders find the research valuable.
Our specialist software has been helping legal services professionals perform their estate administration tasks for almost three years now to the ultimate benefit of their clients. Our users are driven to grow their businesses, improve efficiency, make their employees’ jobs easier, and add value to their clients. We love the feedback we get on our product including the suggestions we get on how to make it even better.
We thank all those who contributed to the Bereavement Index this year including individuals, legal practitioners, and financial services professionals. Your views and opinions are very important to us and in helping move the sector forward.”