Positive news regarding timeframes for probate cases.

Today we’d like to share an update from Joanne Pitchfork, our experienced Paralegal in the Wills and Probate department. With over 25 years of experience in the industry she has witnessed many changes to the way we interact with Wills and Probate and the ever evolving process.

The Grant of Representation has had many changes over the years. 20 years ago, near the start of Joanne’s career, HMRC and the Probate Registry introduced form IHT205 to be completed with all Excepted Estate Applications. This was also in December 2004 when Joanne was heading off on Maternity Leave with her first born! Most of Joanne’s leave was spent worrying that she would not be able to do her job upon return, due to the new form, which of course was not the case! Later in January 2022 the IHT205 was withdrawn and is no longer needed for the application process. Currently the Grant of Representation is a crucial part of the probate process.

Keep reading for Joanne's update:

‘After years of having very little to praise about the Probate Registry, I am feeling very positive and hopeful that things may be changing for the better!

The online applications service seems to be getting more streamlined and user friendly, given the recent changes to the payment process. There is of course much room for improvement in relation to the applications which still need to be made on paper and it would be welcome news to hear of the Probate Registry plans to move more if not all applications online.

Once upon a time, 2 firms and about 13 years ago, we had a healthy office competition for who could obtain a Grant of Representation in the shortest period possible from the date the file was opened. The record stood at 9 days.

Fast forward to 2020 and beyond and the competition seems to have shifted to see who has the longest outstanding application. This not only creates frustration for us as professionals but also causes great anguish for clients and families of the deceased, the Grant is vital to not only proceed with the sale of property but also in the current financial climate it is important to receive the Grant as quickly as possible to be able to release much needed funds to beneficiaries. Since the interest rate increases and cost of living crisis, more and more beneficiaries are in dire need of funds sooner than in years gone by. It is however a nice part of the job at the moment being able to inform clients that the Grant has been issued faster than expected and you can hear the relief in their voices knowing that the difficult process after losing a loved one is one step closer to conclusion.

I am optimistic that change is on the horizon following the Probate Registry’s recent decision to close telephone enquiry lines in the afternoons to focus on their backlog. Whilst the elusive 9-day Grant remains a thing of legend I am now receiving some Grants within as little as 6 weeks of submitting the applications. Long may the improvements continue.’

Joanne Pitchfork, Wills and Probate Paralegal

To speak to an experienced team member near you regarding your Will, contact Emsleys Solicitors today.

Joanne Pitchfork

Written by

Joanne Pitchfork

Wills & Probate

Joanne has worked in the Wills and Probate field for over 25 years and spent 14 years dealing with estate administration for two high street banks and 11 years in private practice. Primarily dealing with Estate Administration and Grant only work, Joanne also is involved in Will writing, amendments and queries,...

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