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28 November 2018 | Comment | Article by Eleanor Evans TEP

Applying for probate – the new rules

The Non-Contentious Probate (Amendment) Rules 2018 came into effect on 27 November 2018 and have changed the way in which individuals and solicitors can apply to the court for a grant of probate in a deceased person’s estate.

What has changed?

Statements of truth replace sworn oaths

Previously, it was necessary for the personal representative of an estate to swear an oath in the presence of a solicitor or commissioner for oaths, before making an application for probate. The new rules mean it will now be possible for the personal representative to sign a statement of truth to confirm the contents of their application are true.

Caveat procedure

The new rules make some other procedural changes to services delivered by the probate registry, to include the procedures around entering a caveat (a means by which, in certain circumstances, an individual can stop a grant of probate being issued until a disagreement regarding the estate has been resolved).

Online probate applications

It is also now possible for personal applications for grants of probate to be made online.

What will this mean for personal representatives of estates?

In some respects, these changes will make it easier for personal representatives to obtain grants of probate, as the process should be more straightforward and accessible. That said, these are procedural changes only and the laws regarding estate administration, particularly for estates that are subject to inheritance tax or where there are complexities such as disputes, foreign assets and trusts, remain complex and difficult to navigate. In order to ensure they have complied with their duties, personal representatives should still seek legal advice.

For further information regarding probate, please get in touch.

Author bio

Eleanor is Head of the Trusts and Estates Administration Department, a large team dealing with estates and trusts administration on behalf of financial institution and trust corporation clients.  Eleanor is a specialist in wills, probate, tax and trusts, and is a full member of STEP (the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners).  She is also a committee member of the STEP Wales branch.

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