New Court of Protection Pilot makes probate look more promising
It’s no secret that probate is nothing short of a headache. Long delays were already the precedent and then covid came along and added to the problem - but could the answer lie in a new pilot scheme?
Stop blaming Covid?
During Covid-19, we heard about many families struggling to resolve probate due to delays and problems at the Probate Office. At a time when the number of deaths were sharply increasing, the last thing grieving families needed was extra stress and financial difficulty due to the delays.
At the time, an article in the Sunday Times revealed Christine Carter’s story, who had been trying to sell her late father’s bungalow in Kent. Despite having all the correct paperwork and submitting the application to the Probate Office on 18 February shortly after her father’s death, Christine’s application wasn’t received until 16 April - almost two months later.
More than two and a half years on - and many months since lockdown restrictions were lifted altogether - and people are getting fed up with the same Covid-related excuses.
Delays are still growing
But the delays continue to grow. The Times Money Mentor Troubleshooter told us Julie’s story, as she faced delays more than seven months after sending her application for Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) after her father became ill.
The article revealed that during Covid, the processing of applications fell from 75,000 a month to 53,000. The OPG say they are now back to pre-pandemic levels of processing - but these numbers give you some idea of the backlog they are now facing. It’s also hoped that the new digital LPA system (will help to speed up applications as it will be quicker and simpler to use.
Hope for the future?
We have joined a Court of Protection online pilot scheme to apply for financial Deputyship. This is required when someone loses mental capacity to make a Lasting Power of Attorney, and to deal with or make decisions in relation to their property and affairs. Using the pilot scheme, the Deputyship Order should be received in 8-10 weeks from when the application is submitted to the Court; as opposed to 8-10 months for applications submitted by post - and this is looking to be very promising.
It may be too late for those already in the queue but moving forward it should hopefully mean a much easier process for families who are unable to access their loved one’s funds, often required without delay to pay for care.
If you would like to discuss probate, your Will or Lasting Powers of Attorney, or making an application for Deputyship to the Court of Protection contact the Private Client team to see how we can help.