Probate registry offices, dealing with a backlog of applications, means that families are waiting up to 12 weeks to access their loved ones’ finances. The delay in processing cases is owing to an increase in applications ahead of the rise in fees, and the advent of a new digital application process that is suffering glitches.

Christina Blacklaws, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, said: “It is extremely disappointing to hear of these delays – particularly when the impact falls on the bereaved.”

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