According to a Conservative MP and probate solicitor, John Stevenson, the Probate Service is now more backlogged than it was two years ago. Despite more funding and an injection of more financial and human resources, Mr Stevenson claims that the system has deteriorated.
What Is Causing Delays at the Probate Service?
The alleged problems have seemingly arisen following the centralisation of probate registries and the introduction of an online system to replace the previous paper-based process.
Anecdotally, some lawyers say it’s taking well over twice as long as the three-week turnaround experienced two years ago. However, this could be a result of staffing issues during the first COVID-19 lockdown earlier this year, and also because of the fact that there was an increase in the number of deaths due to the pandemic. There are further reports that high numbers of material errors are cropping up.
Whether these problems are merely something of a glitch, or demonstrative of a more fundamental issue at the Probate Service, one hopes that any problems will be appropriately addressed in the coming months.
Understandably, dealings with the Probate Service arise at an already difficult time, following the death of a friend or family member. Although lawyers try to manage client affairs as quickly as possible, sometimes the wheels of justice, and of public administration, just aren’t as fast as we would like.
If you’re facing delays at the Probate Service or have any concerns about a probate enquiry, please contact Helen Gowin on 01260 282351 or email [email protected].