At the beginning of this month, it was made mandatory for Probate practitioners to apply for Probate online. The following is information received from the Probate Registry regarding their work and turn around during the pandemic.
The Probate Registry has confirmed that during the COVID lockdown, 80% of their staff were working from home, but this figure has reduced to around 40% in recent months, including in the second lockdown.
Probate staff can work on digital or paper applications at home or in the office. The Probate Registry states it is a simpler process for staff to work on digital applications as there is no need for movement of paper files between Registries. The more cases that are submitted digitally, will support the Probate service in becoming more efficient as it will remove the administrative need to move work nationally.
The Probate Registry have seen a steady increase in the use of the digital system by probate professionals and this will of course increase further now some elements of the online service are mandated.
The volume of applications the Probate Registry received each week has increased above the normal average since mid-May 2020, but it has been a flatter peak than predicted. This has meant waiting times have continued to improve slightly despite the pressures of the pandemic and the increased volume of receipts.
The most recent published turn-around times for digital probate applications is between 2 and 5 weeks compared to 5 and 7 for paper applications. The difference in waiting times reflects the difficulties in working with large quantities of paper safely within the pandemic restrictions which are in place and ultimately the efficiency of the digital process.
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