Ministry of Justice takes “urgent action” on digital probate delays

The Ministry of Justice has taken “urgent action” to solve the digital probate delays issue, according to the Justice Minister.

Simon Hart, Conservative MP, had written Parliamentary questions regarding the new digital probate platform, which is causing delays of up to eight weeks for solicitors, according to recent figures.

Paul Maynard, Justice Minister, said: “Urgent action has been taken to address the delays which have been experienced in the probate service.

“Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service is increasing staffing levels and further improving the digital service to help reduce waiting times.”

The introduction of the digital probate system was initially intended to be rolled out alongside a change in probate fees. However, the proposed change was then postponed.

The change would have resulted in fees being removed from application for probate for estates with a value of less than £50,000, which is a significant increase from the current threshold of £5,000.

The standard charge of £215 for individuals is due to be changed to a sliding scale system, with the largest estates being charged up to £6,000.

Experts believe that the proposed probate fee rise resulted in a sharp increase in the number of applications, with the intention of beating the introduction of the planned changes.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice, said: “Our new online service is making probate simpler and more convenient for bereaved people.

“Some grants are experiencing delays of 2-4 weeks and we are working hard to bring waiting times down further. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”