Reducing errors in online probate applications
Posted on 27th November 2020 at 12:40
HM Courts and Tribunals Services (HMCTS) have published a guide to help reduce potential errors in online probate applications.
On average, over a third of applications for probate are ‘stopped’ by HMCTS because they are missing documentation or essential information.
Who can apply for probate online?
You can apply for probate online if you are named as an executor in someone’s Will or if you become the estate’s administrator, if they did not leave a Will.
Although the target is to process applications within eight weeks, if HMCTS stops an application because errors have been found, it will be delayed, and work won’t proceed while the issues are resolved.
Steps to get your probate application right first time
HMCTS have been working with the Law Society, CILEX and Solicitors for the Elderly and have now produced five steps to reduce the risk that your application will be stopped:
1. Send your IHT 421 form to HMRC in advance
You will use the IHT 421 form when you apply for a grant of representation. This will outline the assets that will be distributed to the beneficiaries by the executors or personal representatives.
Over 30% of applications to HMCTS are stopped because not enough time is allowed for HMRC to process the application and issue the form to HMCTS (usually 15 working days) before the online application is made.
2. Make sure your IHT form is correct
22% of applications are stopped because information is missing or inaccurate in the IHT forms, so it’s important to make sure all the figures are correct and complete.
3. Explain if executors are unavailable
If a named executor is unable to make the application the HMCTS will need to know why before they can proceed.
4. Explain any issues with the condition of the Will (no matter how small)
If the Will or codicil has had something added, removed, or is damaged, you will need to provide an explanation. Even damage as small as staple or punch holes, rusty paper clip marks, torn edges, or water damage should be explained. There is a section in the online form for you to include comments on the Will’s condition.
5. The applicant’s name must match the name on the Will
The name of the applicant must match the name written on the Will. If it doesn’t you will need to include and explanation in the application.
Once you have submitted an online application, you will be able to log in at any time and see live progress on your case.
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