COVID-19 and delays with Probate

For those who have had to undertake the task of obtaining a Grant of Probate recently, you may have noticed that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic seems to be affecting turnaround times on various key parts of the process, right from the start with the “Tell Us Once” government service, all the way through to the actual Probate Registry, the Land Registry and HMRC.

Unfortunately, Barrett & Co as Probate practitioners are experiencing these delays on behalf of our clients, which can be extremely frustrating for all parties.

Our current experience is that since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, the current timeframe from death to obtaining a Grant of Probate can now be as much as 9 months.

This will come as a shock to many as during this timeframe, Executors or Administrators have very little power to action anything within a deceased’s Estate. This may also cause worry at an already emotional time for people who are worried about the impact of inheritance tax and the deadlines of HMRC to both submit an inheritance tax return, and if necessary, start paying the instalments.

Another impact on these third party time delays can be seen with the sale of a deceased’s residence, as this cannot proceed to exchange of contracts without a Grant of Probate, and equally beneficiaries who may be reliant on a legacy payment being delayed payment.

The Probate Registry were previously able to expedite some Grant of Probate applications where  house sales were imminent, but these can still take several weeks to be processed even if the Probate Registry have capacity to assist (which is unlikely at the moment).

The Private Client team at Barrett & Co are continuing to work, both in the office and remotely during this pandemic, and are working to progress Probate matters for our clients as quickly as possible. We ask and appreciate however your ongoing patience with third party turnarounds that are outside of our control. In the interim, we would recommend that if you are acting in the capacity of Executor or Administrator, that you make all the parties involved in the Estate fully aware of the delays to keep everyone updated.

If you require any assistance with the administration of an Estate, or are recently bereaved, and unsure as to how to proceed, please contact our Private Client team on [email protected] or 0118 958 9711 and we will be happy to assist you.

Further Reading:

A Day In The Life Of A Private Client Solicitor During Lockdown

Autumn Lockdown and Furlough – Part 3

The impacts of COVID19 on the property market

Get in touch

Hilary Buckle offers a fixed fee initial meeting of one hour to discuss your personal circumstances, your options and your next steps, at a cost of £95 (inc VAT).

Hilary specialises in all aspects of private client work, including Wills, trusts and probate matters. She is a member of the Thames Valley branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and an associate member of ACTAPS (the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists).

If you would like to know more or arrange a fixed fee appointment, please email her at [email protected] or call her on 0118 958 9711.

"barrettandco" and "Barrett & Co" are trading names of Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP, a Limited Liability Partnership incorporated in England and Wales under registration number OC356263, with registered office at Salisbury House, 54 Queens Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4AZ. Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority www.sra.org.uk (SRA Number 549694).

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