probate delays

Probate delays continuing to worsen, data suggests

New data released by HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) seems to confirm probate delays are continuing to worsen in England and Wales.

The total number of receipts in January 2023 was 26,464, up from the seasonal dip of 18,123 in December 2022 and the highest number of receipts in all but one of the last 13 months.

Conversely, the total number of grants of probate issued sat at 19,834 – a recovery from the 16,692 seen over December but still significantly lower than the average of 22,481 grants over the 11 months leading up to December.

With regards to the timeliness of these grants, the average wait from submission to grant for the 15,502 digital applications rose from 7.6 weeks in December to 8.4 in January – over two months.

For those digital applications that are stopped, the wait climbed by 0.2 weeks to 18.6 weeks. Non-stopped applications slowed too, taking 4.5 weeks in January – the longest wait for such an application at any point over the last 13 months.

The picture is equally bleak for paper applications, which took 20.3 weeks on average in January, up from 19.6 in December and the second-longest wait faced by applicants over the last 13 weeks. This is also more than a 50% increase on the 13-week waits seen between January and June of 2022.

For stopped paper applications, the average timeline rose to 26.3 weeks – or over half a year. While lower than the 26.7-week wait seen in October, it is still up 0.9 weeks from December and represents the second-longest wait over the last 13 months.

Access HMCTS’ full dataset.

3 Responses

  1. We know that things are getting worse, not better, but what is anyone doing about it?
    I called HMCTS this morning about a paper application made more than 16 weeks ago (in November) only to be told that it has been examined yet. I asked for it to be expedited because a Lifetime Mortgage company is threatening to repossess the property if the mortgage is not paid off by 8th April (the anniversary of death) and was told that the information would be added to the case and I should hear from someone “in about three weeks”!
    In the meantime, last month one of my clients received the Grant (again on a paper application) in less than two weeks, so applications are not being dealt with in order of receipt.

  2. The real delay affects estates paying significant sums of IHT. Submitting the IHT400, and arranging the payments of tax, is then followed by a 3week gap before you can submit the Probate application. It should be one application, with no delay mid application.
    From a mid October start we actually got probate in early February, after asking our MP to intervene. Issued in days after that!

  3. HMCTS has only got itself to blame ,closing down Probate Registries and losing so many well trained and knowledgeable staff ,who they said could be replaced,you reap what you sow ,they were told it wouldn’t work,but didn’t listen

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