These changes will be relevant to you if you need to apply for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration or if you wish to prevent someone from doing so.
The government have amended the procedure for applying for probate in England and Wales, without any consultation. The new rules came into force on 27 November 2018.
Summary of the amended rules:
- To allow personal online applications for probate to be made by an unrepresented applicant;
- To enable applications for probate to be verified by a statement of truth (instead of a sworn oath) and without the will having to be “marked”
- To extend time limits in the caveat process, which give the person registering the caveat notice of any application for probate (caveats are a way to prevent Grants of Probate being issued where there is probate issue which needs resolving which give notice of grants being issued);
- To allow caveat applications and standing searches (which give notice of grants being issued) to be made electronically;
- To extend the powers of district probate registrars equivalent to those of district judges; and
- To make further provision for the issue of directions (instructions to the parties) in relation to hearings.
These changes are most likely to be encountered most frequently in relation to the process for applying for a Grant of Probate. HMCTS (Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service) will soon provide further guidance including, a template of the Statement of Truth to utilise in place of the current process of applying via a sworn oath. However, they have confirmed that in the meantime, the current process of applying via the oath can continue.
The announcement has arrived at the same time as the Ministry of Justice’s proposal to increase the probate application fee with a banded fee structure which will substantially increase the application fee for larger estates from April 2019.
At Jordans, we have many years of experience in advising and assisting clients in dealing with all aspects of the administration of estates, including applications for grant of probate and letters of administration. We will be keeping up to date with the ongoing probate changes and are happy to assist with any queries regarding the changes. Our wills and probate solicitors are based in Wakefield, Dewsbury, Selby and Horsforth. Feel free to call us on 0330 300 1103 or request a call back.