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Probate backlog impacts grieving families,

 Probate backlog impacts grieving families,


Law Society warns of detrimental effects as probate delays force grieving families to wait months

The Law Society of England and Wales has issued a stark warning about the detrimental impact of severe delays in probate applications on grieving families. These delays, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic but existed prior to it, leave families in a state of limbo for months as they navigate the complex process following the loss of a loved one.

Nick Emmerson, President of the Law Society, highlighted the unacceptable situation where families are forced to wait over three months for probate to be processed. This delay not only adds to the emotional burden of grieving but also incurs additional financial costs, such as interest payments on outstanding inheritance tax and the risk of property transactions falling through.

While the HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has made efforts to reduce delays and has shown some improvement, Nick Emmerson stressed the need for sustained improvements in the probate service. This includes recruiting and training staff adequately to handle both digital and paper applications and ensuring that any expansion of digital services is user-friendly through extensive consultation.

The Law Society expressed gratitude to the Justice Select Committee for launching an inquiry into probate delays and hopes that it will lead to positive actions to address the ongoing issue, ultimately ensuring that probate applications are processed in a timely manner.