The Law Society has issued a press release on behalf of MyHMCTS detailing improvements and changes that will be made to the online probate service, effective from 19 August 2021.
The changes are based on feedback from probate practitioners, and are as listed below.
Changes from 19 August 2021
- You can amend all parts of a probate application before submitting it, including the probate practitioners’
- Where only a notarial copy or a court sealed copy of the will is available, you can apply through MyHMCTS.
- Trust corporations can apply for a grant of probate using MyHMCTS.
- New prompts will clearly identify the title of the executor, including partners, members, shareholders and directors in a firm or successor firm.
- Other prompts provide clearer options to account for executors that are not applying for probate, reducing the potential for cases to be stopped.
- You no longer need to send a death certificate of any pre-deceased executors.
The legal statement will automatically contain the names of the applying executors and practitioner. It will also have an improved title and clear wording.
The legal statement can be:
- signed by practitioners on behalf of their client and any of the applying executors (including with a digital signature);
- uploaded to an application through the MyHMCTS dashboard or sent by post.
A system error that led to practitioner details being overwritten in the application has been fixed.
Important next steps before 19 August 2021
Any applications that are not submitted, or cannot be submitted, before the change on 19 August will not be able to progress and you’ll need to create a new application.
Users should check their MyHMCTS dashboard and either:
- submit cases; or
- read the guidance on deleting unsubmitted cases for those that are no longer valid.
If you cannot fully submit your application to HMCTS before 19 August, you should wait for the change to go live before starting your probate application on MyHMCTS.
Performance issues update
In the June professional user group meeting, HMCTS stated that during April and May it experienced performance issues which were caused by an increase in receipts and an unexpected loss of staff.
The HMCTS team have assured that they have recovered from this by recruiting and training replacements as well as rebalancing resources to improve call handling. This means, however, that they predict they may not tackle the outstanding caseload until August. This will remain under review.
HMCTS states that timelines on non-stopped digital cases and non-stopped paper cases are very good. It has therefore diverted resources to stopped cases to speed up how quickly these are resolved.
You should continue to wait eight weeks before calling HMCTS for an update on an application. Calls should be answered promptly.
Every piece of evidence sent to Harlow should have a cover sheet. This is pivotal to make sure the documents are added to applications and presented to examiners. These act as a direct link between the evidence and the application.
If there is no cover sheet – even if the case reference number is on the correspondence or document – the information will be added to the exceptions queue, which has to be checked manually every day.
If you have any feedback that would further improve the online probate service, email [email protected]. Feedback could include:
- thoughts on the changes;
- suggestions for further areas that need enhancement;
- any technical issues – provide screenshots where possible.
For issues relating to a specific probate application, email [email protected] directly to avoid any delay in resolving your enquiry.
If you have other queries or concerns about the probate service, email [email protected].