Have your say in the Probate Inquiry
The Justice Committee has launched an inquiry into the probate service to understand why there are delays and what can be done to improve the service.
Together with the Institute of Legacy Management, we’ll be contributing a collective sector response, showing how probate delays can impact charities, but also highlighting the importance of being able to access key information about probate output levels, helping charities forecast their legacy income.
Can you spare a few minutes to contribute your views to our short survey?
Why has this inquiry come about?
Probate delays have been a long-standing issue for His Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS), with rising caseloads adding to the backlog of applications held up in the system. Although HMCTS expanded their probate workforce and made improvements to their digital platform, applications continued to exceed outputs for most of this year.
However, since September, we’ve seen a marked increase in productivity, reducing the volume of cases in the system by around 13,000, with October setting a new monthly record for probate outputs. While it’s early days, there are signs that the probate service may have turned a corner.
Nonetheless, we’re all too aware that there is still a hefty build-up of unprocessed estates in the system and how challenging it can be for bereaved families and charities alike when waiting for probate to be granted. Legacy income can have a crucial impact on charities’ ability to deliver services.
The Justice Committee is keen to get to the bottom of this and make sure that we have a probate service that gives the right support to beneficiaries, executors and the bereaved. It’s a broad inquiry that will be looking at several areas, including the probate department’s current capacity and resources, people’s experiences of probate and how technology could further improve the system.
What does this mean for charities?
For several years now, Remember A Charity and the ILM have been working with HMCTS to ensure charities’ needs and views are represented. Only last month, the probate department agreed to introduce several new measures including providing regular updates and sector webinars to help you forecast more accurately in the short term. They also committed to include a charitable indicator on digital applications, making it easy to see if an estate includes a charitable bequest and to report on those cases as they move through the system.
Some strong progress has already been made. But now that this inquiry is open, we have another important opportunity to ensure your views are heard.
Please share your thoughts via this survey and these views will contribute towards our collective response to the inquiry in late January.