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Legal professionals will need to make applications for non-contentious probate online from 2 November this year, the government has announced.
The move comes after a consultation process designed to hear feedback and concerns from those working in the sector.
Exceptions will apply for some more specialised applications and professionals will also be allowed to make applications for grants of letters of administration either online or via the traditional method of applying to a Registry
Commenting on the government’s decision, Law Society president Simon Davis said: “In principle, we agree with making online applications compulsory for all professional probate applications.”
However, while acknowledging the benefits of the online system, such as its ability to provide instant feedback, he also highlighted that there had been some “teething problems”.
“HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) must ensure that these issues are resolved and the system is fit for purpose before it is fully rolled out and the new rules come into force,” Mr Davis said. “Further clarity is also needed on what alternatives will be available if the system experiences difficulties – such as technology issues or if the case is particularly complex or unusual.”
“Any IT system will inevitably experience glitches from time to time and it is important there are fully developed and clearly understood contingency arrangements in place for when such failures occur.”
The delay prior to the legislation coming into force is designed to give professionals time to sign up for online accounts although HMCTS has already called for people to register with the MyHMCTS platform.