Probate is the legal process that takes place after a person passes. This involves distributing the deceased’s assets to their heirs and settling their debts. Alas, this process can be long and complicated, leading to potential delays that can cause significant issues in the probate process.
Why are there probate delays?
Recently, probate delays have reached an all-time high due to the closure of many probate offices around the country – a direct result of the pandemic. Before Covid-19, regional probate offices managed probate requests effectively, delivering grants of probate promptly. However, all but one or two probate registries were closed down during the pandemic; with the main probate registry in London receiving a high level of requests despite severely reduced staff numbers. Furthermore, almost every probate request in the country had to be filtered through one office opposed to the numerous that stood before. Consequently, delays have become the norm, which can be costly and emotionally taxing.
The impact of probate delays
One major way that probate delays can increase costs is by prolonging the time it takes to settle the estate. During probate, legal fees, court fees and other expenses can accumulate quickly. If the process is delayed, these costs will continue to escalate.
Probate delays can also cause stress and uncertainty for all involved, including the heirs of the estate. They may be coping with the loss of a loved one while navigating the legal process. Understandably. this can be emotionally draining. Additionally, if beneficiaries are financially struggling, such as paying debts or bills, a prolonged probate process may impact their financial status. This is because they may be relying on the discussed inheritance for aspects for their life and was not expecting delays.
How delays affects Blanchards
In turn, this also affects companies like Blanchards. We rely on our share of the estate for aspects of our business. We expect a general time period of just over a year for our payment from a case. Delays from our share can understandably cause some issues internally. This can affect, over heads, utilities and even impact our decisions with what software’s or third party international researchers we can afford to use for each case.
Probate delays impact on empty properties
Furthermore, delays can lead to problems with empty properties that are part of the estate. If our sister company is not assigned the role of estate administrator, we are unable to clear the property. These empty properties can become a target for trespassers or pests that have the potential to damage the property. This, in turn, can lower its value and creating unpleasant surroundings for neighbours.
In more extreme cases, probate delays can cause disputes between heirs. This may occur if the heirs cannot agree on how the assets should be distributed or feel that the process is taking too long. These disputes can further delay the probate process and increase costs, in some cases even leading to legal action.
To avoid probate delays, it is important to work with a reliable probate company such as Blanchards. We ensure all necessary documents are in order to promote a smooth and efficient process for all.