Probate solicitors: challenges and solutions

Probate solicitors: challenges and solutions

Report highlights

  • Movewise survey identifies challenges faced by probate solicitors, with inefficiency and hold-ups by government bodies singled out as a major frustration by 87% of those surveyed
  • Backlog of probate applications due to Covid-19 pandemic likely to last some time
  • Research points to importance of realising maximum value from probate property sales, obtaining accurate valuations, and achieving a quick completion of probate

To identify the challenges faced by the legal sector and pinpoint areas for improvement, Movewise has surveyed a cross-section of solicitors and undertook one to one interviews with probate specialists. 

The results showed that solicitors are increasingly frustrated by inefficiencies in the legal process with one head of probate at a leading firm describing the delays as “shocking”, adding: “grant of probate used to take four weeks… now it takes four months”.

Main findings of the research include:

  • 87% of solicitors said that delays by government bodies had a significant or moderately significant impact on their work.
  • 63% said they were similarly affected by errors by government bodies
  • Challenges related to property sales were considered important by 37% of solicitors. The main areas identified were vacant property management, unrealistic value expectations by beneficiaries, and administrative hassle.

The survey was conducted in September 2020, against the background of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite a sharp rise in excess deaths this year, numbers of probate applications fell significantly during the “first wave” in spring and summer - and the delays highlighted by the respondents suggests a significant backlog of cases is likely to remain for a considerable time.

Tom Scarborough, CEO of Movewise, who founded the firm after becoming frustrated by his own experience selling property, believes that while it may not be possible to put an end to government bureaucracy, there are areas of probate where out-sourced expertise could support and speed up elements of the process. 

Movewise's managed multi-agent approach addresses key priorities and targets for the probate process identified in the research, including:

  • Achieving maximum value for the estate (83%)
  • Maintaining control of the process (83%)
  • Completing the probate process quickly (75%)

The firm delivers a managed process which is particularly suited to the probate market. Its innovative approach achieves significantly faster completion rates, a 50% higher sales rate than average UK estate agents and provides an end-to-end service with less admin. 

“Solicitors face more than enough inefficiency in other areas of probate," Tom comments, "so they don’t need any extra hassle with the property side of things. Allowing Movewise to manage the sales process frees legal teams up for legal work, safe in the knowledge that our property experts are working to deliver a quick sale with maximum value to the estate.”

For full details of the findings, download the research report.

Benefits of using Movewise 

  • 50% higher sales rate than average UK estate agents
  • 50% less chance of requiring a price reduction, with fees comparable to standard sole-agent commission
  • Faster completions - two months faster than the UK average
  • Less admin: dealing with a single account manager saves hours of emails and phone calls per property
  • End-to-end service: Movewise manages the process from agent selection and valuation right through to completion, and can oversee additional services including house clearance and vacant property insurance

Find out more about how Movewise can make probate property sales more efficient.

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