Leading South East law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore has welcomed the Non-Contentious Probate (Amendment) Rules 2020 (NCPAR 2020), laid before Parliament. From 2 November 2020, probate practitioners will be required to make most grant applications online, via the HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) online service.
The online application process has been open to legal practitioners on a voluntary basis since October 2019. The firm’s probate team, one of the largest in the region, has been an early adopter of this new offering and has found that the online service helps make the probate process more streamlined.
In addition to the new rules, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) also published the government's response to its consultation on the proposals, to which Thomson Snell & Passmore’s probate team submitted a response.
Based on consultation responses, The MOJ has decided that use of the online service should now be compulsory for probate practitioners. This will apply to most grant applications, with only certain, complex cases exempt. These include:
- Grants of letters of administration and letters of administration with will annexed
- Grants to attorneys
- Urgent grants (grants ad colligenda bona)
- Grants in respect of foreign wills
- Applications to prove a copy will
- Applications for rectification of a will.
Commenting on the new rules, Helen Stewart, Head of Probate at Thomson Snell & Passmore says: “We think this is good news for clients and practitioners alike. Any initiative that can make the probate process more efficient should be welcomed. As a team we are and have been submitting online applications for a good while now and have found it to work really well to streamline the process. For example, firms no longer need to complete paper statements of truth and can also manage all their probate applications through an online dashboard.
“We hope these new rules will be quickly embraced by the industry as a whole and will enable grants to be processed more quickly which in turn will enable personal representatives to deal with the estate assets and administration of an estate without delay.”