Delays to grant of probate applications

Probate registries across England and Wales are currently experiencing long delays to obtaining grants of probate and letters of administration following rollout of new software.

A Ministry of Justice (MoJ) spokesperson told The Law Society Gazette that delays ‘of up to four weeks’ have been experienced due to a new IT system which was installed at the end of March. Applications are usually processed within 10 days.

However, lawyers have reported delays for clients of up to 12 weeks.

It is understood that delays may also be caused by an influx of applications by those seeking to avoid upcoming changes to probate fees.

The government were due to increase probate fees at the beginning of May but this has been delayed and the date for it to come into force has not yet been set. Under the new structure fees were to be linked to the size of the estate. The changes will abolish fees on estates worth less than £50,000, but will mean a fee increase on estates worth more than this.

What is probate?

Probate is the process of dealing with the estate of someone who dies and effectively means obtaining permission to carry out the wishes contained within the deceased person’s will. To obtain permission to manage the process, you need to apply for grant of probate.

If someone dies without a will (known as dying intestate), the process is different.

For more information you can read our probate guide for executors here or speak to one of our team on 023 9298 1000.


  • Will drafting
  • Review of existing Wills
  • Advice re provision for children, second families, spouses and civil partners, unmarried partners and other family members
  • Advice re charitable gifts
  • Advice re foreign and business assets
  • Advice re Will trusts
  • Codicils
  • Inheritance Tax advice


  • Advice re Trust creation and ongoing management
  • Preparation of trust deeds and other trust documentation
  • Declarations of Trust
  • Termination of trusts

Probate and Administration of Estates

  • Advice re the terms of the Will or intestacy rules where there is no Will
  • Obtaining values for the various assets and liabilities in the estate, notifying the various institutions and obtaining all necessary estate information
  • Obtaining a grant of probate or letters of administration as appropriate
  • Dealing with and advice re Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax, liaising with HMRC
  • Notifying and liaising with the beneficiaries of the estate
  • Preparing a deed of variation or a deed of disclaimer in relation to the estate
  • Selling or transferring the various assets due to the beneficiaries
  • Dealing with foreign assets and Wills
  • Advice re estate disputes and claims against an estate

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