Post-Pandemic Probate: how to deal with the estates of those who have died

Posted on 7th August 2020

It has been a difficult time this year with many relationships, families and minds being tested as a result of the far reaching impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Whilst we are not out of the woods yet, lockdown restrictions are easing so now is a good time to consider taking steps to deal with those that we have sadly lost in the previous months.

Post Pandemic Probate

In order to act on behalf of someone’s Estate after they have died, you must be the person appointed as executor in the will or a person eligible to apply under the intestacy rules for a grant. This grant is a court order which gives you authority to deal with the deceased’s estate. The Probate Registry issues grants.

With the restriction on travel, visiting family/friends and leaving our homes, there are thousands of Estates that have not yet undergone the probate process as families and legal professionals have been unable to attend the homes of the deceased or legal offices in order to collect the necessary paperwork needed.

At the time of writing, there has been over 46,000 Covid-19 deaths alone not including those that have died from other causes. As a result, the probate registry has trained more staff to deal with probate applications and expects a sharp rise and surge as these deaths are dealt with in the coming months.

What changes have we seen

In addition to the problems posed during the lockdown, the Probate Registry has introduced a new system for applying for a grant.

The introduction of new forms and an online system has tested the public and legal professionals with ongoing questions being asked and updates being made.

With the Pandemic affecting the economy, the property market has also seen a decrease as great numbers of those working in property work were furloughed and mortgage lenders tightened approvals and criteria. As a result, house prices and sales, including those needing to be dealt with from probate, decreased as restrictions on viewing homes and the dangers of unnecessary travel hindered this.

We have seen renewed interest in the property market as restrictions are lifted and incentives such as the temporary reduced Stamp Duty encourage purchases and sales.

Our Services

We are now taking on an increasing number of probate clients as a result of the changes that are taking place and are able to assist on all Estates whether they be complex or simple.

If you would like to enquire about our services, whether it be to just help you in simply obtaining a grant or to assist with the administration of an Estate, please contact the Private Client Team at Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors by email hja@hja.net or ask to speak with the Private Client team on 0808 231 6369.

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