21/12/2023 by Northwood Banks & Co.
Obtaining Probate - Avoid These Common Delays
While obtaining a Grant of Probate can be a straightforward process, there are several common delays that can slow down this process, and the estate administration process as a whole.
Probate is the term often applied to the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, including distributing their assets and paying any debts or taxes owed. While obtaining a Grant of Probate can be a straightforward process, there are several common delays that can slow down this process, and the estate administration process as a whole, and prolong the distribution of assets to the beneficiaries.
Incomplete or Incorrect Information
One of the most common reasons for delays in obtaining a Grant is incomplete or incorrect information on the application. This can include missing information on the deceased's assets or incorrect details on the executor or beneficiaries. It is important to thoroughly check all information before submitting the application to avoid any potential delays.
Another common reason for delays in estate administration is dealing with outstanding debts or taxes owed by the deceased. These debts must be settled before the assets can be distributed, and this process can take time, especially where they relate to overpayments made by the DWP or debts owed to HMRC who are much slower at providing information to the executors. It is important to obtain a full list of the deceased's debts and to consult with a financial advisor to ensure that they are settled as quickly as possible.
If there are disputes over the contents of the Will or if someone challenges the validity of the Will, this can delay the probate process. In these cases, the probate court will need to make a ruling on the validity of the Will, which can take time. It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible if there are any disputes to ensure that the probate process moves forward as quickly as possible.
Inadequate Estate Planning
Inadequate estate planning can also cause delays in obtaining probate. For example, if the deceased created a Will but their Will is unclear, the probate court will need to make decisions about how to distribute the assets, which can take time. It is important to plan your estate and create a professionally drafted Will to ensure that your wishes are carried out and to avoid potential delays in the probate process.
Inefficient Estate Administration
Finally, inefficiency in the administration of the estate can also cause delays in obtaining probate. If the executor is inexperienced or if they do not have the necessary resources to manage the estate, this can result in delays in distributing the assets and settling debts. It is important to appoint an experienced executor who has the resources and expertise to manage the estate efficiently.
Obtaining probate can be a straightforward process, but there are several common delays that can slow down the process and prolong the distribution of assets to the beneficiaries. To avoid these delays, it is important to thoroughly check all information on the Grant application, settle any outstanding debts, seek legal advice if there are disputes, plan your estate, and appoint an experienced executor. By following these steps, you can ensure that the administration process is completed as efficiently as possible and that your beneficiaries receive their inheritance as quickly as possible.