Applying for a Grant of Probate – It’s All Change

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In the uncertain times we are all living in because of the pandemic, for us all, there has been change. Some of this change may end up being for the better and some of it we do not yet know. Changes are happening all around us and several have filtered through to the process of applying for a Grant of Probate, including applications for a Grant of Letters of Administration, etc.

The process of getting a Grant is as follows:

  • Reporting of the assets and liabilities of a deceased person to HMRC by the completion of an Inheritance Tax Return:
    • Non-taxable estates, you complete Form IHT205 and submit this to the Probate Registry; and
    • Taxable estates, you complete Form IHT400, submit to HMRC and arrange for the tax to be paid.
  • Up until 18th May, a simple two page Statement of Truth could be submitted to the Probate Registry along with the original Will or not, in the case of an intestacy.

However, this process has now been replaced with a ‘Probate Application Form’ which is over 20 pages in length. Albeit, I do not believe this change was because of the pandemic.

These documents would have to be signed by each Personal Representative and all being well, you would receive the Grant approximately 1 – 2 months later depending upon the complexities of the estate.

 

Changes in applying for a Grant of Probate

Since the pandemic and the introduction of social distancing which as a result has seen most offices shut their doors, there has thankfully been a change in approach.

HMRC

Until further notice, the Revenue now allows professionals to submit unsigned Inheritance Tax Returns with the following provisos:

1. The Personal Representatives details are included on the declaration page; and

2. Written confirmation is provided that states all those named on the declaration page have seen the Inheritance Tax Return and agree to be bound by it.

Tax can no longer be paid by cheque and electronic payments are the only form accepted, whether it be over the phone or online.

Probate Registry

Despite the more than tenfold increase in paper that needs completing with the new application form, an electronic signature (including a typed signature) will be accepted for the first time.

It has also been confirmed that certain other documents that sometimes make up these applications, such as Deeds of Renunciation and Powers of Attorney, can also be signed electronically.

Pleasingly, some progress has been made in modernising the way Probate is applied for and long may it continue as life slowly returns to normal.

 

If any advice is needed in respect of applying for Probate, then contact Bernard Flanagan and he will talk you through the process.

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.