In January we advised of the Government’s intention, in the draft Non-Contentious Probate (Fees) Order 2018 (‘the draft Order’), to increase the court fee for applying to the probate registry for a grant of representation. Whilst no date for implementation was given, it was anticipated that this would apply to applications made after 1 April 2019.
The announcement caused a surge in applications and this, combined with other changes at the probate registries, has led to significant delays in processing the applications. Previously it would be around 10 working days between submission of the application and receipt of the grant. This has increased to as much as 3 months, and these delays are ongoing. This is causing some serious problems, particularly for estates trying to sell properties. Personal representatives who are selling properties are being advised to provide evidence of a completion date and the probate registry will try to expedite the grant application.
But what has happened to the proposed fee increase? Nothing yet, as we are waiting to see if the draft Order passes through the final stage in the House of Commons. We understand there is now insufficient time for this to happen before the start of the summer recess on 25 July 2019. Consequently, the earliest it could go before parliament is 3 September 2019. It is worth remembering that, even if it is agreed, the Order will come into force 21 days after the day on which it is made.
If you need any assistance with estate administration or the preparation and/or submission of a grant application, please contact a member of the Private Client enquiry team on +44 (0)1733 887675 who will refer you to a legal advisor in a location convenient to you.
+44 (0)1733 887672