On the 24th of December, a Happy Christmas email from the Probate Registrar’s team thanked us for our understanding and support during 2019. At that stage, they were working on issuing grants on a 6-7 week turnaround. 2019 was a difficult year, following the introduction of new software to improve turnaround times, which led to delays of 12-16 weeks. Before the improvements, we would generally get Grants back within 2 weeks.
You need a Grant to administer the estate of someone who has died. An amazing 7,000 Grants of Representation are issued in England and Wales each week, and the backlog of applications is now beginning to fall.
New applications are being processed within three days of receipt, and the bulk of applications are processed within 28 days. HMCTS is optimistic that service will ‘very shortly’ return to the normal routine, in which grants to solicitors are issued within ten working days.
More grants are being issued each week than applications received, so the numbers and associated waiting times are falling, according to Adam Lennon of HMCTS’ Probate Service.
‘Though applicants are still waiting longer than we would like, we are confident that we will be back to normal soon’, he said. ‘We are now focusing on embedding new ways of working so that we really maximise the benefits that we set out to achieve: a 24/7 service that is simpler and quicker to use and more efficient to run’
Let’s hope it is a New Year Resolution they can keep.