The process of applying for probate which was unchanged for years is being modernised by the government. The latest changes come into effect from the 18th of May 2020.
The government is pushing through modernising reforms despite the pandemic and fears of administrative delays. The latest change is to scrap the “statement of truth” which in turn replaced oaths. There is now a more conventional “tick box” form which has different versions depending upon whether you are using a solicitor. The old forms will no longer be accepted from the18th May 2020.
Duties and Tax payable
The long term goal is to digitise the process so that applying for or ordering probate will be carried out entirely online. It will still require care, however, and in many cases specialist knowledge of wills, intestacy (when someone dies without a will) and inheritance tax will be essential. Those seeking to apply for probate and administer an estate should be aware of the duties they owe to HMRC as to tax and to beneficiaries and the consequences of mistakes.
The probate registries are currently closed to the public due to the pandemic. Temporary measures have been brought in to do away with the need for supporting statements to be witnessed to take account of social distancing rules. Like many organisations, the probate registries are operating at a reduced service due to the COVID-19 pandemic and some application delays are to be expected.
If you need help with probate please get in touch – we are fully up to date with the latest changes and are able to assist and provide guidance with the entire process. Call Hayley on 0191 243 8167 or take a look at our probate solicitors page where you can find information about the probate process as well as a Glossary of Terms and a case study from a recent probate client.