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Reported decline in professional Probate applications

Research released on 03rd October, by the Probate Service and conducted by Title Research reports that applications for grant of probate in England & Wales, made by Practitioners, have declined for each of the past three years.

Solicitors (including those working for commercial probate firms) made 158,570 applications for a grant in 2010 – four per cent fewer than 2009. Though a small reduction in itself, when added to previous statistics it represents a massive 30 per cent reduction since 2006.

There are a number of suggested reasons for this decline. The first, and some say the most obvious theory is that more estates are being administered by private individuals. Although the statistics for 2008 and 2009 support this, with a two and four per cent increase respectively, in 2010 applications fell by one per cent.

Variations in the death rate do not explain it, either. The number of deaths recorded in England & Wales in 2010 was 0.4 per cent higher than the 2009 figure, and the number of deaths between 2006 and 2010 has fallen by only 2 per cent.

Other possible reasons include a greater inclination among the public for DIY estate administration; the tougher economic environment leading to belt tightening by consumers; more estates falling below the threshold requiring a grant; an increase in joint ownership resulting in fewer estates requiring grants; or financial institutions being more relaxed about the need for a grant.

Getting professional advice on probate applications is always advised to ensure that the pathway through is navigated efficiently and does not open you up to ongoing disputes. To discuss this with a professional, please contact Jenny Pierce on 0117 9292811 or email jenny.pierce@wards.uk.com

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