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6 April 2020

Private Client and Grants of Probate update

In this article, Donna Taylor provides an update from the Private Client team focusing on making a Will during Covid-19 and the changes to the application process to obtain a Grant of Probate.

Whilst the world slows down and the streets become eerily quiet as we all take recommended precautions during Covid-19, it has been and is likely to be for a while, one of the busiest times for Private Client lawyers, who are considered in some parts of their job as Key Workers. We are working hard to ensuring that those who have left their Will on their “To-Do” list, and in particular those who are vulnerable, have a valid Will in place.

See our previous article for more information on how you are able to make a Will or a Lasting Power of Attorney during Covid-19 and Coronavirus: Practical tips for making a Will.

Grants of Probate update:

Another area of our work is in the applications for Grants of Representation (“Grants”) to a deceased person’s estate. Last year saw unprecedented delays in applications for the Grants after the threat of increased Probate fees based on the value of an estate caused a rush of executors trying to beat the probate fee increase, and HM Courts and Tribunal Service putting in a new IT system. This caused, in some cases delays of up to 16 weeks on top of the usual 3-4 timescale for such applications. There have also, very recently, been closures of various District Probate Registries in an attempt to centralise the procedures.

We were notified in mid-March, that there to be a change to the way that we now make applications to obtain a Grant. HM Courts and Tribunal Service on average receive 170,000 applications per year; before the changes, there was no efficient way to digitalise forms for storage on their central system.

It was only last year that we changed from Affidavits to Statements of Truth and now we will be required to submit a 23-page form. These forms were introduced on 23 March 2020. The old-style Statements of Truth will be accepted until mid-May thereafter only the form will be accepted.

Of course, we remain committed to working with you to complete requests in a timely manner and assure you of our best attention at all times. It seems there will be no rest for a Private Client Lawyer for the foreseeable future!

If you are thinking of making a Will, we have a free Will Planner available on our Making A Will page which sets out the details you need to think about before your first meeting with one of our team.

If you would like to discuss any points raised in our Private Client and Grants of Probate update or you wish to amend or make a Will, please contact our dedicated Wills, Trusts and Probate team on 01603 59800 or by emailing probate@steeleslaw.co.uk. Appointments are available at our Diss, Norwich and London offices or home visits by appointment.

*The information provided in this article is designed to provide useful information on the subject, not to provide specific legal advice.

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