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Solicitors in Westminster, London

The Probate Procedure

The Probate Procedure

There have been a lot of changes over the last year in the way probate applications are dealt with by the Probate Registry. This started with a plan to centralise probate services and modernise the system. Unfortunately, the centralisation has led to significant delays in Probate being granted, and this has not been helped by Covid-19. The courts are currently advising that it could take anywhere up to 8 weeks for probate to be granted.

The modernisation of the probate system has made the process more straightforward and there is now the option to deal with the whole application online. The online system allows you to upload all the information electronically and track the progress of your probate application more easily. In order to use the online system, you must be the Executor or Administrator of the estate, must hold the original Will (if there is one) and must hold the original death certificate. You must also have already reported the value of the estate to HMRC and paid any tax due. Once the application has been submitted online, you will be required to send the original Will (if there is one) and death certificate to the Probate Registry and once they have received this you can track the progress of the application online. There are some instances where you cannot use the online system and have to apply via post instead and these include: where the deceased did not live in England and Wales and did not intend to return here; where the deceased died without a Will and you are not the spouse, civil partner or child of the deceased and if any of the Executors do not have mental capacity.

If you do not wish to make the probate application online and prefer to apply via post, this option is still available, but the Probate Registry have introduced new application forms to do this. The form required depends on whether the deceased left a Will or not. If the deceased left a Will, you need to complete form PA1P and send this to the Probate Registry along with the original Will; original death certificate and inheritance tax summary form. The PA1P requires you to sign a legal statement at the end which replaces the old “Oath for Executors” or “Statement of Truth”. The legal statement confirms that the Executor will administer the estate of the deceased in accordance with the law and confirms that the application is truthful. If the deceased did not leave a will then you will need to complete form PA1A and send this to the Probate Registry along with an original death certificate and the inheritance tax summary forms.

The application fee for probate applications is £215 if the estate is worth over £5000 and there is no fee if the estate is worth less than this. If you wish to request further copies of the Grant of Probate, these are £1.50 each.

The process is slightly different if you appoint a solicitor to act for you in obtaining the Grant of Probate and the application fee is slightly less. If you would like to discuss the probate application process further or wish to instruct LBMW to act in the administration of an estate then please do not hesitate to contact a member of our private client team.

The contents of this article do not constitute legal advice and are provided for general information purposes only. The contents are copyright of Lee Bolton Monier-Williams LLP. All rights reserved.