The government has issued additional guidance for legal professionals regarding submitting grant of probate applications online.

Use of the online service will be mandatory for legal professionals in most cases from 2 November although paper forms will be allowed in complicated cases that require documents to be checked manually.

The decision follows a Ministry of Justice (MoJ) consultation in August which received 22 responses that comprised “a spectrum of views”, some of which were in favour of the change while others “opposed it vehemently”.

The Ministry suggested that unease about the online switch was “to a large degree the perception of the service’s efficiency rather than the actual performance”.

The MoJ said it was committed to working to improve the system, but added that mandating needed to be introduced as a priority.

“There is a danger that for some parts of the profession the move to full mandating will always seem to be premature and best deferred to another day… For the HMCTS reform project the future operating model of the service is premised on professional user applications being almost wholly online.”

Overall the MoJ concluded that the online system would result in “an improved service leading to savings of time and cost to HMCTS and professional users alike, as well as offering a number of other benefits”.

According to figures released earlier this year, the MoJ believes probate reform should lead to savings of £20m over a 10-year period.

The Probate Service issues around 260,000 grants each year; with around 180,000 applications made by solicitors and other probate practitioners and the remainder submitted by individuals.

Fraser and Fraser remains fully operational and is here to deal with any probate or missing beneficiary queries you may have during this exceptional time. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with business development manager Nick Howitt. We are able to offer all our services remotely and we have secure video conferencing facilities.