Enormous Backlog – HMCTS Struggles to Tackle Growing Delays in Probate Applications

Enormous Backlog – HMCTS Struggles to Tackle Growing Delays in Probate Applications

The distressing situation faced by thousands of bereaved families awaiting probate approval is worsening by the day, as revealed in recent reports.

Families are experiencing extensive delays of up to a year in obtaining vital documents necessary to settle their deceased loved one’s affairs.

The process, already fraught with difficulty, entails arduous wait times of up to an hour on the phone to connect with a civil servant, followed by a further 16-week wait before even requesting an update on the application status.

Systemic Issues and Backlog: Evidence of Dysfunction

Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday paint a concerning picture of the crisis unfolding within HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) as it grapples with a monumental backlog of probate applications.

An alarming dossier submitted by law firms and trade bodies to the Justice Committee exposes several systemic issues plaguing the probate system, rendering it unfit for purpose.

Key findings include a doubling of the average wait time for application approval to fourteen weeks, prolonged delays of up to 23 weeks for paper-based applications, and a staggering one in four applications requiring additional information, resulting in further weeks of processing time.

Personal Testimonies: Financial Hardship and Emotional Strain

Retired solicitor Anthony Tahourdin’s account illustrates the real-world consequences of probate delays, recounting a scenario where a £1.8 million investment portfolio suffered a £300,000 loss due to prolonged processing times.

Such delays not only jeopardize financial assets but also inflict emotional distress on families grappling with funeral costs, outstanding debts, and legal expenses.

Emily Deane from the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners highlights instances where beneficiaries are forced to bear the financial burden, unable to reimburse themselves until probate is granted.

Toll on Individuals: Personal Experiences

The narrative is further underscored by firsthand accounts from affected individuals like Peter West, who has spent a staggering 25 hours attempting to obtain updates on his probate application for his late brother-in-law’s affairs.

Peter’s ordeal, compounded by missed opportunities and financial losses, epitomizes the frustration and disillusionment faced by many navigating the probate process.

Administrative Response: Measures Taken and Criticisms

In response to mounting pressure, HMCTS has implemented temporary measures such as reducing phoneline service hours to address the backlog.

However, critics argue that such actions exacerbate the situation, making it harder for bereaved individuals to seek assistance or track their application status effectively.

Concerns raised by Bob O’Neill, chair of the Justice Committee, underscore the need for a comprehensive review and overhaul of the probate system to alleviate the burden on grieving families.

Continued Engagement and Guidance

Amidst the turmoil, affected individuals are urged to persevere in submitting applications through conventional channels and utilize online resources for updates and assistance.

While HMCTS reassures applicants of continued support, the need for sustained efforts to streamline and expedite the probate process remains paramount.

Affiliate Links Disclaimer

It’s important to note that some links within this article may be affiliate links, potentially earning a small commission.

This disclosure ensures transparency and upholds the editorial integrity of the content, prioritizing the provision of unbiased information to readers.

Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn

Read Related News On TDPel Media

Advertisement: Download Vital Signs App (VS App)