Probate applications expected to surge according to HMCTS

According to the Law Society, HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is now receiving more applications per week than it is issuing, with applications being turned around within five to six weeks.

Probate Waiting Times UK Coronavirus

How long are waiting times when applying for probate?

In a meeting with legal organisations last week, HMCTS confirmed that while there was a dip in probate applications last month, it is now receiving more applications per week than it is issuing. As a result, applications are currently being turned around within five to six weeks.

HMCTS say they are processing 4,000 to 5,000 probate applications a week and has capacity for 7,000. However, HMCTS did also warn that waiting times could vary in the coming weeks if applications increase as expected.

According to HMCTS, applications for probate were at half their normal levels in mid-May, as many solicitors still didn’t have access to their offices to collect wills. However, with restrictions easing, as well as an influx of applications due to coronavirus (COVID-19), demand is expected to increase over the summer.

How are HMCTS speeding up probate waiting times?

To cope with the extra demand, the government has hired new staff and retrained existing employees who previously dealt with court hearings to keep on top of applications once lockdown is lifted.

HMCTS are encouraging solicitors to apply for probate online to speed up the process, with only a fifth of applications from solicitors currently made online (a third of lay applicants use the online service). HMCTS is also asking solicitors to contact them only if necessary and not to chase cases that are within the five to six-week timescale.

See also

HMRC announce changes to Inheritance Tax processes during lockdown

How many death certificates do you need when someone dies?

How to value a house and its contents for probate

Place a Deceased Estates notice

Find out more

Applying for probate (GOV.UK)

Image: Getty Images

Publication date: 29 June 2020

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