Are increasing probate applications affecting backlogs?

Are increasing probate applications affecting backlogs?

New figures show that HMCTS efforts to reduce backlogs in the probate service are being affected by increasing volumes of probate applications. January HMCTS figures have revealed that the number of probate applications being made in England and Wales had jumped by 5,297 in one month.

In January 2022, 23,572 probate applications were received by HMCTS compared with 18,275 in December 2021. According to figures, digital applications in January took 15.8 weeks from submission to grant issued when a stop occurs, and 4.2 weeks without stops, compared to 15.4 weeks and 3.9 weeks in December. Paper applications took 21.5 weeks when stopped and 9.8 weeks without stops.

But despite the increase in timeframes HMCTS stated that the service is running and the backlog is not increasing, and it expects demand on the service to decline around the end of May 2022. The recently released figures do also follow patterns established over the last few years in terms of volumes of applications; these show the number of grants issued in 2021 was 17,000 more than in 2020, making it the second highest in the last 10 years.

HMCTS has cited stops as an ongoing issue affecting the amount of time and effort spent on applications, and as a result has switched resources from processing new applications and towards stopped cases in the last five months.

In cases of stopped applications HMCTS states that it is not able to act on the application until 20 working days have passed.

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