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Probate News 11 - October 2019

This issue provides an update on the Government’s proposed probate fee increase, an update from HM Courts and Tribunals Service on recent delays and Brexit resources.

Statutory Instrument (SI) to amend probate fees withdrawn

As you will be aware, the Government laid a Statutory Instrument (SI) before Parliament in November 2018 to amend probate fees from the current flat fee structure to one which is based on the value of the deceased’s estate.

Following concerns raised by ICAEW and other regulatory bodies, the Government has announced its plans to withdraw the SI.
While it was widely felt that the proposed level of fees was too high, the Government maintains that it is right that those who use the service should contribute to its costs, where they can afford to do so without impeding access to justice.

The Government is therefore taking a closer look at court fees, including probate, as part of a wider review. The outcome of the review will be announced in due course.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service blogs regarding delays in the probate service

Jonathan Wood, National Services Director at HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has posted two blogs about the recent delays in the probate service, the causes of these delays and the action HMCTS is taking to address the issues.

Wood's first blog addresses and apologises for the recent issues and the second explains the wider changes that are being made to the service.

ICAEW met with HMCTS earlier in the summer to express the concern of practitioners about the impact of the delays.

Misconceptions at local probate offices

We have been advised that some local probate offices are advising ICAEW probate accredited firms that their applications will be dealt with as personal applications. Their explanation for this incorrect response is that our firms are not on the solicitors’ roll.

ICAEW has been provided with a probate registry form for you to complete and enclose with your initial application to correct this misconception.

Changes in firm structure and their effect on eligibility

The probate committee would like to remind firms to consider the impact any changes they make to their ownership and/or principals may have on their eligibility to be accredited for probate.

Regulatory News

Government updates guidance on Brexit

The UK government and the European Commission (EC) have published guidance to help citizens and businesses understand the potential implications of Brexit. Our guide helps you find these resources and navigate through them. 

The UK government has also published specific technical notices, including additional guidance for lawyers working in ICAEW registered probate firms.

Useful links