The Great Probate Delay

A colleague recently went to our local probate registry and found that there were over 4,000 applications pending. As you have probably seen in the press the delay has been caused by a combination of factors – the rush to beat the fee increase which, in the end, never took place; the introduction of a new computer system in the probate registries; and the impact on staff morale and efficiency of the proposals to close probate registries and transfer operations to a call centre. The longer the delay lasts the more adverse the impact on executors and beneficiaries who can make no progress in winding up the affairs of their friend or family member. In some cases, real financial hardship could result. The one consequence of the Brexit paralysis has been the increase in examples of straightforward incompetence in public administration. It seems that the probate fiasco is emblematic.

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