Wendy Mustard, Head of Will, Trusts and Probate at Richard Reed Solicitors

Member Article

New probate rates unlikely to speed up the system, North East solicitor warns...

THE CONCERN that an increase in probate fees is unlikely to speed up the long wait facing bereaved families is being highlighted by a Sunderland legal firm.

The Ministry of Justice announced last month that the cost of going through probate was to increase from £155 for professional users and £215 for people not going through a solicitor, would become an across-the-board fee of £273.

And while the MOJ say the additional revenue will help fund a more efficient, digital service and offer a better experience, currently distraught families are having to wait as long as nine weeks before receiving their documentation.

Now Wearside’s Richard Reed Solicitors, based at Frederick Street, has given its support to a campaign launched by Solicitors for the Elderly, which is calling for the system to be updated and improved as soon as possible.

Wendy Mustard, Head of Will, Trusts and Probate at Richard Reed – which is a member of SFE – believes the situation needs urgently addressing.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, bereaved families have had to deal with extensive delays in probate,” she said.

“We are well aware that this service needs some improvement and even more so now with the cost increasing.

“We’re glad to hear that the additional finances will be spent on making it more efficient but in the meantime, people who have lost their loved ones are having to cope with additional stress.”

Wendy and other lawyers are also concerned that the flat fee will encourage more people to go ahead and apply for probate themselves, missing out on professional guidance.

“In a situation where the arrangements are complex then people really need to get proper advice to ensure everything is handled correctly,” she said.

“Obviously we welcome any move which is going to help speed up the current process but there is a great deal of concern about the time this might take.

“And unfortunately in the meantime families are having to wait it out for what can be months.”

Along with their Wills, Trusts and Probate services, Richard Reed also specialise in family law, residential and commercial conveyancing, disputes, corporate and employment law.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Sorted PR .

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