Losing a loved one is never easy. Grief does not follow standard steps and therefore has no timescale. For some it might last weeks or even years; for others, it never truly passes. Dealing with added stress during this time only risks worsening wellbeing when we are already vulnerable, including sorting out the estate and settling any inheritance costs.
But do we have the knowledge to understand the processes and timescales involved in settling an estate? Research from Tower Street Finance investigated what the average person in the UK knows about the probate and estate administration process. They found that on average, Brits believe it takes around eight months to receive their inheritance, whilst over a third (36%) believe it takes less than six months. In fact, on average in the UK, it can take between nine to 12 months for a typical estate to arrive at distribution, and in some cases, considerably longer.
Their research highlighted that the vast majority of the UK population are underestimating the potential amount of time it could take to receive an inheritance. This lack of knowledge, combined with the lengthy time it actually takes to process an estate, adds to the stress felt by the individuals.
Exizent’s Bereavement Index 2022 further supports this by identifying that 95% of people find the probate process stressful, with a staggering 23% extremely stressful. What’s more disconcerting is the rising number of people suffering mental health issues from the process – shifting from 40% in 2021 to a staggering 55% in 2022 – presenting a correlation between the rising stress of the process and the declining wellbeing of those going through it.
But it isn’t just the individuals who are affected by lengthy delays. Legal professionals feel the pressure to help their clients in the best way possible but with 83% of legal professionals thinking the probate process is slow and complicated, they’re already at a disadvantage. Furthermore, two thirds of legal professionals say that over 25% of probate cases are delayed – a number that has doubled from 2021. While responses from financial institutions appear to play a large part, legal professionals also point to general administration and finding all relevant assets of someone’s estate as key contributors, making it important for them to take ownership by looking at the processes they have in place that cause this.
Over 80% of people use a solicitor to help them with the bereavement process; 93% of these would make the decision again. There’s no doubt that people see the benefits of using a professional to help them with the process. But, considering the impact the process has on mental health and finances, it’s time legal services commit to enhancing their practices to benefit the consumer and themselves.
Fortunately, there are companies out there that can help.
Tower Street Finance understand that there are many circumstances where an individual might want to get hold of their inheritance sooner, or need help funding inheritance tax, funeral costs, legal fees, and other expenses. As such, they have created a range of solutions through their probate lending services, improving the stress and worry of financial concerns many individuals face with no personal liability.
Exizent, on the other hand, are an estate administration software solution that transforms the way professional executry and probate teams work. Specially designed to provide effective support with inventory investigation, data input and automatic forms & estate accounts production. Exizent delivers on the promise of inputting the data just once, and thereafter the system will use it time and time again to improve the efficiency of your service – for the benefit of staff and clients, as well as the firm.
With these services and more, the probate industry can significantly improve delays and more importantly make life easier for probate professionals and those grieving.
This article was submitted to be published by Exizent as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.