The government has brought it additional staff to deal with a rise in probate requests, the Law Society reports.

Earlier this month HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) told the Society that it was stepping up its efforts to deal with grants of probate as the number of applications coming in overtakes the number being issued.

Current government statistics suggest probate applications are typically being turned around within five to six weeks, with 4,329 grants issued in the week of 15 June. HMCTS officials add that, in addition to the new hires, existing employees have been retrained to deal with applications.

Probate applications dropped to half their normal levels in mid-May, as social distancing measures made it more difficult for solicitors to access their offices and collect wills. Numbers of applications are expected to rise further over the summer as a result of Covid-19 deaths combined with lawyers returning to more normalised work routines.

HMCTS this month also issued additional guidance to individuals filing probate applications both online and in paper format. This provides practical advice to make the process as efficient as possible and specific answers regarding when and how to use probate application forms PA1A and PA1P.

Frequently asked questions addressed include: how to set up an online account, which form to use where there is a will but no living executors or beneficiaries, and what to do if a deceased person’s name on a death certificate is an alias and assets are held in a different name.

There is more about the guidance here via the Lawskills website.