Probate applications were considerably lower than normal levels during May 2020. This may be attributed to delays in personal representatives being able to get the information they need to apply for probate during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with some solicitors having limited access to original wills.
In order to apply for probate, the last original will and testament of the deceased person must be sent to the Probate Registry along with the appropriate inheritance tax account, which must include details of the assets and liabilities of an estate, and a probate application form.
In some instances, organisations have struggled to provide personal representatives with the information they need to complete the application papers.
With restrictions easing, it is anticipated that personal representatives should be able to access the information and documents required to apply for probate more efficiently and as such, applications should increase dramatically. HMCTS has recently introduced a number of new procedures that should help to process applications quickly, so we will continue to monitor the situation closely.
According to HMCTS, applications for probate were at half their normal levels in mid-May, as many solicitors still didn’t have access to their offices to collect wills. However, with restrictions easing, as well as an influx of applications due to coronavirus (COVID-19), demand is expected to increase over the summer.