As of 2nd November 2020, all probate applications made by solicitors will now have to be conducted online under Ministry of Justice proposals to encourage practitioners to go digital, which should make it easier for individuals to deal with non-contentious grants of probate.
Following a government consultation, it was found there was broad support for an online service, due to the benefits of being able to submit applications at any time of day, monitor the progress of cases and receive electronic notifications of developments. A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “Our efficient online probate services are simpler, quicker and more reliable, and reduce the stress on grieving families.” It added that the probate reform programme is expected to generate savings of £20 million over a 10-year period.
The Law Society said it agreed in principle with mandating online professional applications. However, it said the system must be fit for purpose before it is fully rolled out and should not be made compulsory until all issues have been resolved.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic we are experiencing across the world, this has accelerated the need to digitalise the probate process. Since 1st October 2019, an online service has been available to all practitioners alongside the paper application process. Prior to the mandatory requirement, the take to online applications was limited; in June of this year, despite being in a national lockdown, just one in five applications for grants of probate were made online.
Under the new rules, legal professionals in England and Wales must now use the online system in the majority of grant applications. For more complex cases involving multiple claimants where the deceased has no will, paper forms will still be allowed to ensure that proper manual checks take place. Online applications should create a more immediate service, rather than having to rely on the post, and cases can be monitored more easily.
Experienced Probate Solicitors
If you have been appointed as an Executor or you are a close relative of someone who has passed away without making a Will, you may be responsible for dealing with the Estate. We realise that it can be a daunting prospect, but our specialist probate solicitors will guide you through the process, explaining everything that is required of you in administering a deceased estate. Where there is a dispute over an estate, we also have the knowledge and expertise to provide guidance on all contentious probate and wills dispute matters.
We have probate and wills solicitors who are qualified members of Solicitors for the Elderly, an independent organisation of legal advisers who provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families, and carers. We also hold accreditations with STEP, a professional body for the trust and estate professional worldwide. STEP is a unique international intellectual resource that ensures its members prospect by maintaining the highest professional values.
If you require advice and guidance following the loss of a loved one, please contact our specialist wills and probate team on 023 9244 8100 for our Portsmouth office or 023 9224 6666 for our Waterlooville office or make an online enquiry
Please note that this article is not intended as legal or professional advice, it is for general guidance only and updates to the law may have changed since it was published.