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Coronavirus: How do I process probate applications? - advice from HMCTS (COVID-19)

6 April 2020: This article was created by the Business Law Department. ICAEW Business Law is the professional and public interest voice of business law matters for ICAEW and is a leading authority in its field. Widely recognised as a source of expertise, the Department is responsible for submissions to regulators and standard setters and provides a range of resources to professionals, providing practical assistance in dealing with business law issues affecting ICAEW's members.

Probate Applications made by ICAEW authorised probate practitioners– advice from HMCTS

We are well aware that the last year has seen many delays in the granting of probate and sadly as the death toll from COVID-19 rises, the system is going to be put under renewed pressure.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) have reassured us that most of their staff can work from home but inevitably there will still be some delays and not all grants will be issued within the normal four-week timescale. They have also assured that they are looking at ways to speed up procedures generally.

In the meantime, they have advised us of the following:

For new applications by professional practitioners

  1. Apply online using MyHMCTS
    HMCTS strongly recommend you consider completing your probate applications online. This will enable them to be accessed remotely while staff may be working from home:

  2. Ensure only complete applications are submitted
    Applications that do not have all the supporting documentation and forms take longer to complete as they have to be ‘stopped’ and then reopened.

For existing applications by professional practitioners

  1. Email queries rather than phone as they have had to reduce the number of people answering calls and the times when lines are open.
  2. As Probate registries will not be conducting face to face interviews please do not attend in person.
  3. Probate registries will still be receiving post but again there may be delays due to staff shortages.

New Grant of Representation Application Forms for professional practitioners

HMCTS has launched new standard application forms for professional practitioners:

  • PA1A (applying for grant of letters of administration)
  • PA1P (applying for a grant of probate)
  • PA8A (applying for a caveat)

These forms need to be completed in place of the Statement of Truth and lodged at the Probate Registries as usual. After a period, these forms will be sent to the Courts and Tribunal Service Centres. HMCTS will inform us of the change of address in due course.

There will be a transition period of 4 weeks, during which Probate Registries will be permitted to accept any old-style Statements of Truth that come through. After 20th April 2020 any Statements of Truth that are received will be returned, with a request to replace them with the appropriate new form.

If you would like further information or have any further feedback on the forms, please email probatefeedback@justice.gov.uk

For individuals applying for probate

Please apply online where you can.