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HM Courts and Tribunals Service has announced it will accept paper probate applications into the New Year, following the news that some practitioners are struggling to sign up to the new MyHMCTS online system.
MyHMCTS is the online service for professionals to issue, pay for and manage applications within civil and family courts and tribunals.
On 1 December, HCMTS wrote to three professional bodies, acknowledging that more time was needed to investigate the issues and extending the grace period for the use of paper based probate applications until 11 January 2021.
HMCTS has revealed that the number of users that have signed up to the online system has doubled since the announcement was made for the applications to be submitted online. The number of digital applications received by HMCTS has also doubled.
In a statement on its website, HMCTS said:
“There was an initial grace period until 30 November 2020 when paper applications will still be accepted to give professional users time to prepare, this has since been extended to 11 January 2021 for to allow firms to resolve any outstanding issues with their application for a HMCTS Fee Account and/or to register for MyHMCTS and set up users within their firm. After 11 January 2021 all applications except the confirmed exceptions must be submitted using the online service.”
The extension comes as a poll by Solicitors for the Elderly found that some families face delays of up to eight months when it comes to getting control of the deceased’s finances.
Families should receive probate and the necessary documents to release money from an estate within a fortnight, but the poll discovered that one in 20 families faces a delay of more than 32 weeks and half are held up by nine to 20 weeks.
HMCTS has previously also been under fire for causing financial hardship to heirs, and threatening property transactions, following the introduction of a new sliding scale of probate fees and the move to online applications.