Some 88 percent of legal professionals think the bereavement process is “slow and inefficient” according to an article on the Today’s Wills and Probate website.

Those professionals said that waiting for financial institutions to release monies was the biggest cause of delays, and that it stressed out 64 percent of their clients.

Surveyed by the data and services probate platform, Exizent, professionals said that the estate administration process caused “stress, frustration, and even mental health issues for those involved”, with 40 percent of those who recently lost someone saying their mental health had been affected by dealing with the administrative side of their death.

Administrative side of death ‘harder than expected’

Exizent’s Bereavement Index research also found that 36 percent of consumers said dealing with the administrative side of death had been harder than they’d expected.

Of the legal professionals surveyed, 52 percent called the process takes “unreasonable”, and 39 percent that in at least half of their bereavement cases, their clients needed emotional support from someone in the law firm.

One in four legal professionals admitted they were resigned to the probate process not working as efficiently as it should, but 75 percent think things could be done to improve it, including better relationships with financial institutions and dedicated probate software.

Major delays

Almost eight in ten (78 percent) said that financial institutions are a major cause of delay, with 31 percent saying they are the single main cause. The issue is exacerbated because 95 percent of the professionals dealing with someone’s estate must rely on the deceased and their families to provide the information they need, but less than half of people have their affairs in order when they die.

The survey found that overall, 37 percent of all accounts are only discovered during the probate process, and it takes 60 percent longer to complete the probate process if someone’s affairs are not in order.

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