Losing a loved one is always a difficult time which is why we understand how important it is to make this period as painless as possible. Technology is advancing at an alarmingly pace and the Probate Service is now starting to accepting online applications from personal applicants and a small number of pre-selected solicitors based on certain criteria, as set out below:
- Applications where up to 4 Executors are applying.
- There is an original Will available even if the individual who died made up to 4 changes to that Will (these changes are known as Codicils).
- The person who has died classed England and Wales as their permanent home or intended to return to England and Wales to live permanently.
At this time the Probate Service say that the online application form will continue to be developed to cover a broader range of probate applications in the future.
What does the new online application provide?
The new online application form includes:
- A new statement of truth for you to declare that the information provided is correct, which removes the need for you to swear an Oath in person.
- The function to pay the Court fee online removing the need to post a cheque to the Probate Service.
- A ‘save and return’ function allows you to save and revisit an application if you need to find further information. This allows a part finished application to be saved and completed later.
What is required in order to submit an online application?
The online application form, the Probate Service say, is easier to understand but you will still be required to provide supporting documents as per the current process. These are:
- The original Will and two photocopies.
- An official copy of the death certificate.
- The associated inheritance tax forms and figures.
- Any other supporting documents relevant to the case (e.g. a renunciation form)
The Probate Service is looking to enhance this application process in the future, potentially through links with other departments to gather required information automatically as part of the process.
Of course, if the above criteria is not met then obtaining Grant of Probate, which enables Executors to administer an Estate, needs to be carried out through the normal postal application process which includes preparing inheritance tax forms and an Oath which has to be sworn before a Solicitor or a Commissioner of Oaths.
This method is still in the early stages of development and we would recommend that you make an appointment with a solicitor to make sure all procedures are followed correctly.