Probate applications surge as COVID-19 restrictions relaxed
Due to a surge in probate applications, HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) has warned that it will be hard to predict how long it will take for grants of probate to issue in the coming weeks.
After May saw around half the usual number of probate applications, there has been a recent surge due to the increased death rate and the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions being relaxed.
Extra staff have been assigned to meet the unexpected level of applications and most are now being turned around within five or six weeks. However, it is impossible to say whether this timescale will remain consistent.
Probate applications between January and March 2020 took an average of almost seven weeks, down from a high of around eight weeks in early 2019 after there was a rush of applications to beat the proposed fee hike.
Although the fee hike never actually materialised, waiting times are yet to return to the two weeks expected as standard.
Katie Emerson is a solicitor in the private client department at Barker Gotelee, Ipswich solicitors.