How has COVID-19 affected the probate service?
HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is encouraging the use of online applications for probate registry services to maintain service levels during COVID-19, as employees are working remotely.
- There is no need to witness the new application forms. No swearing in front of a solicitor or commissioner for oaths is needed either.
- Electronic signatures, including typed signatures, will be accepted.
- If it is currently impossible to obtain probate, there is a possibility of obtaining a limited grant ad colligenda bona.
Have the formalities for verifying affidavits been relaxed due to COVID-19?
- It is possible to use a statement of truth in any non-contentious probate process that would under normal circumstances require supporting affidavit evidence (for example, this can be done to prove due execution of a will or its copy).
- The change in the rules is temporary and will last until 30 July 2020.
Is there a way to urgently stop a probate application at present?
- In some cases, there might be doubts as to whether a will is valid, or a proposed personal representative is suitable. A caveat can be entered to prevent a grant of representation being issued in order to allow time for the matter to be considered.
- It is possible to apply online or lodge Form PA8 by post.
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