Probate applications continue to lag amidst persistent delays

Delays affecting probate applications remain prolonged despite minor signs of improvement, new data from HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has revealed.

For the 22,072 grants of probate issued in February 2023, the average timeline from submission to grant was 10.6 weeks, according to the data.

While this is a slight reduction from the 11 weeks recorded in January, it remains comfortably above the 9.1-week average seen over the last 12 months – months which were all plagued by delays in their own right.

Data: HMCTS. Graph: Today’s Wills and Probate.

79% of grants issued were digital. For non-stopped applications, the average wait was 4.2 weeks, which is relatively in line with the 4.1-week average of the last 12 months.

For stopped digital applications, delays sat at an average of 17.8 weeks in February – a slight reduction from the 18.4 weeks and 18.6 weeks seen in December and January respectively, though still comfortably above the average of 15.3 weeks over the last year.

What’s more, delays affecting paper applications – which make up 21% of all applications – continue to soar. For those applications which are not stopped, the average wait sits at a striking 17.4 weeks – more than double the 7.8-week wait seen as recently as March of last year.

For those paper applications which are stopped, the average wait is now 30.7 weeks – approaching three quarters of a year, and a 46% increase on the 21-week wait seen in February 2022.

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