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What to do if probate is delayed?

05 August 2021 | Ben Coulson

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many probate registries have been under intense pressure. Those applying for Grants of Probate or Grants of Letters of Administration have had to wait lengthy waiting times of nearly 14 weeks or longer to obtain control of their loved one’s estates.

During this time many families have had to wait to access and organise their lost loved one’s finances and even put a hold on the sale of property within the estate – adding extra stress to bereaving families.

Previously, it used to take just two weeks for a Grant of Probate to be obtained by post. However, in 2019 a new online system had been introduced to speed up the process but instead it resulted in delays. Until probate is granted, an executor cannot give out promised inheritances or allow any family members to sell property which can result in disputes.

All online applications are currently estimated to take between seven and eight weeks, with many families having to wait longer.

What can you do if probate is delayed?

The best way to minimise delays is to get your own probate process underway as quickly as possible. For example, arrange valuations on the deceased’s assets as soon as you can to get started on Inheritance Tax processes, which form part of the grant application.

It is also essential that, if you are the executor, that you keep everyone in the loop throughout the whole process to avoid disputes. Losing a loved one is difficult enough, let alone having separate disputes with other family members and friends over finance and property matters. Communicating openly is the best way to ensure that everyone understands and is up to date with the relevant information.

Also, speak to your Probate solicitor to check whether there is anything further you can do whilst you wait for your application. Discuss with them when and how you should go about following up on your delayed application as they will be able to advise you on your next best steps.

Now that we are beginning to move forward out of lockdown it is likely that we will start to see a decrease in the processing time of applications – more updates will follow…

Specialist Probate & Estate Administration Solicitors

If you would like advice about a Probate application or guidance through the practical aspects of probate and estate administration, please contact our friendly team of probate and estate administration solicitors. With many years’ experience, our experts are best placed to provide technical legal advice and help navigate you through the process. Please get in touch by calling 0117 906 9400 or email

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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