Digital service rolled out in full after successful trial
Credit: Clara Molden/PA
The government has launched an online service allowing people to apply for probate.
Being granted probate allows someone to deal with a person’s estate after their death. The new digital service allows users to apply, swear the necessary statement of truth, and pay the £215 fee needed for estates valued in excess of £5,000.
To use the service, citizens will require the original will of the deceased, as well as the original or interim death certificate. Probate can also only be applied for online once the value of the estate has been reported.
HM Courts and Tribunals Service claims that, in the majority of cases, the service will eliminate any need for applicants to visit a probate registry or solicitor’s office.
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Additional features are due to be added in due course, including the ability to apply in cases where a will has not been left. HMCTS is encouraging users to provide feedback, and pledged to make changes and improvements where necessary.
HMCTS chief executive Susan Acland-Hood said: “Making probate simpler and more convenient, and removing the need to attend a probate registry and swear an oath in person, helps bereaved people at a very challenging time – those who have tested our new service have told us how much difference it makes. I am delighted we are now able to offer this new, simpler way of doing probate to the public at large. It is part of the work we’re doing to make the justice system easier to navigate for everyone.”
The launch of the service follows an invitation-only trial phase during which 93% of users said they were satisfied or very satisfied, according to HMCTS.
Online probate applications form part of a wider £1bn courts reform programme, a centrepiece of which is a drive to implement more technology platforms and digital services.