Probate Registry Delays Hit Families In Mourning26th Aug 2015
Delays by the Probate Registry mean bereaved families are having to wait longer for bequests, warn Dorset solicitors Coles Miller.
In worst cases the delays - caused by Government cuts - could be jeopardising the executor sales of houses and flats, it is feared.
Government cuts and an increased number of applications mean the Probate Registry is taking longer to issue the grant of probate that executors need in order to carry out the final wishes of the deceased.
Without a grant of probate, an executor cannot pass on bequests to the beneficiaries. Sales of properties cannot complete.
Coles Miller Partner Stuart Bradford said: “The Probate Registry is understaffed and overworked; this is causing delays.
“It has been taking up to two months for a grant of probate to be issued by the Probate Registry - previously it was two weeks.
“Things have been getting slightly better recently - it is now taking four weeks but that is still twice as long as it was at this time last year,” added Mr Bradford, a wills and probate solicitor based at Coles Miller’s Poole and Wimborne offices.
Executors are bound by law to safeguard the assets outlined in a will and to administer the estate - to pay out the bequests - in a timely fashion (within a year).
“If a property sale falls through because a grant of probate has been delayed, this places added pressure on the executors,” said Mr Bradford.
“Aside from the obvious delays, they may not be able to secure another buyer prepared to pay the same price for the property.
“It is possible to obtain an emergency grant of probate if you are worried about a sale falling through but the costs for doing so increase significantly.”
Coles Miller has specialist wills and probate solicitors at its offices in Poole, Bournemouth, Christchurch, Broadstone and Wimborne.
For more information, please contact wills and probate solicitor Stuart Bradford, 01202 355695.