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Recent drop in probate applications may mean executors face delays in the months ahead

View profile for Ed Ryder
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Recent drop in probate applications may mean executors face delays in the months ahead

The Courts Service recently reported that probate applications have dropped by 50% during the current lockdown. Consequently there is concern that there will be a large upsurge in applications as lockdown starts to ease. This will almost inevitably lead to delays in grants of representation being issued and estates being administered.

Clearly there are a number of completely understandable reasons why applications may have fallen:  people may be unable to visit properties to collect papers or they may feel that during the lockdown they have other priorities. It may also be that there are executors who would like to begin the process of administering an estate but are not doing so under the misconception that ‘everything is somehow closed down’ or that they do not have enough information at hand to begin the process.

In some cases this may well be correct but, for many people, a discussion with a qualified lawyer about the detail of the reporting requirements and about the practical steps to administer the estate, even in the current circumstances, would be invaluable in helping them see that progress can be made.

Some practical and astute advice at the moment could take weeks off the time it takes to sort out and distribute the estate. All the Executors I have dealt with take their role, quite rightly, very seriously and diligently. Being able to progress the administration of an estate now, if they didn’t think it was possible, would hopefully allow people to feel that they are ‘doing their job’ rather than being anxious that delays are storing up problems down the line.

Speak to our of our specialist probate solicitors if you are an executor and have concerns about progressing the administration of an estate.