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Probate applications fall during lockdown as new forms become compulsory

The Government has confirmed that applications for grants of probate have fallen by 50 per cent since lockdown began, with remote working causing delays in the system.

HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) said it was ‘fully aware’ that there will be a surge in applications, with practitioners working under pressure remotely.

The new probate application form that was introduced in March has now become compulsory, with the old format of statements of truth set to be rejected by HMCTS.

There are ordinarily more than 5,000 probate applications received in a week, but the average has decreased to between 2,000 and 3,000, with just 50 out of 2,000 applications being received in the new format.

Further guidance is expected to be released on the new format, with the eight-week introductory period for the new standard grant of representation form ending on 18 May.

The forms have been designed to ensure that information is digitised from the outset, with information inserted into the systems instantaneously. HMCTS hopes that the new forms and digital format will speed up the probate process and avoid any lengthy delays, such as those seen last year.

A statement from HMCTS said: “Some of the feedback received questioned why we are introducing the new forms when everyone in the system is under so much pressure.

“The overriding reason is to enable us to utilise our bulk scanning service which digitises the paper applications and allows us to work remotely. This will help ensure your clients still receive their grants during this significant disruption to our normal business.”

For help and advice on matters relating to probate, Wills and estate planning, contact our expert team today.

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David Webb

David Webb

Director - Head of Wills, Probate & Older Client Services
I specialise in probate and the administration of estates, trust and tax planning, preparation of Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection applications.

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