Improvements to MyHMCTS for probate practitioners

Based on feedback from probate practitioners, HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is making improvements to the online probate service.

Find out what action you need to take

Changes from 19 August 2021

  • You can amend all parts of a probate application before submitting it, including the probate practitioners’ details
  • Where only a notarial copy or a court sealed copy of the will is available, you can apply through MyHMCTS
  • Trust corporations can apply for a grant of probate using MyHMCTS

Executor details

  • New prompts will clearly identify the title of the executor, including partners, members, shareholders and directors in a firm or successor firm
  • Other prompts provide clearer options to account for executors that are not applying for probate, reducing the potential for cases to be stopped
  • You no longer need to send a death certificate of any pre-deceased executors

Legal statement

The legal statement will automatically contain the names of the applying executors and practitioner. It will also have an improved title and clear wording. 

The legal statement can be:

  • signed by practitioners on behalf of their client and any of the applying executors (including with a digital signature)
  • uploaded to an application through the MyHMCTS dashboard or sent by post

A system error that led to practitioner details being overwritten in the application has been fixed.

Important next steps before 19 August

Any applications that are not submitted, or cannot be submitted, before the change on 19 August will not be able to progress and you’ll need to create a new application.

Users should check their MyHMCTS dashboard and either:

If you cannot fully submit your application to HMCTS before 19 August, you should wait for the change to go live before starting your probate application on MyHMCTS.  

Update: if you cannot delete or submit your application before 19 August

HMCTS understands that not all practitioners will be able to delete or submit their applications by the deadline.

Therefore, from 7pm on 19 August, unsubmitted cases will be moved to a new state: 'stopped'. 

HMCTS will:

  • mark these cases as 'end state: stopped' to make them easy to identify
  • add a comment to the event history tab to reflect this change 

Practitioners will be able to see the stopped case on the dashboard but will not be able to progress it. 

You can:

  • view the comment on the event history tab
  • decide at your own pace if you want to delete the case from your dashboard
Event history tab for an end-state stopped case on MyHMCTS. Two data fields are circled under 'Details': "End date: Stopped" and "Comment: Case forcibly stopped due to pre TC schema". 

Note: to view a clearer version of this screenshot, right click to open the image in a new tab.

Cases marked 'end state: stopped' are strictly limited to applications that have been stopped before being submitted to HMCTS. They will be separate to any cases that are stopped by a caseworker after submission.

Performance issues update

In the June professional user group meeting, HMCTS stated that during April and May it experienced performance issues which were caused by an increase in receipts and an unexpected loss of staff.

The HMCTS team have assured us that they have recovered from this by recruiting and training replacements as well as rebalancing resources to improve call handling. This means, however, that they predict they may not tackle the outstanding caseload until August. We’ll keep this under review.

Stopped cases

HMCTS states that timelines on non-stopped digital cases and non-stopped paper cases are very good.

It has therefore diverted resources to stopped cases to speed up how quickly these are resolved.

Calling HMCTS

You should continue to wait eight weeks before calling HMCTS for an update on an application.

We’ve been assured that calls will be answered promptly. 

Cover sheets

Every piece of evidence sent to Harlow should have a cover sheet. This is pivotal to make sure the documents are added to applications and presented to examiners. 

These act as a direct link between the evidence and the application.

Download the cover sheet (Word 50 KB)

If there is no cover sheet – even if the case reference number is on the correspondence or document – the information will be added to the exceptions queue, which has to be checked manually every day. 

Feedback

If you have any feedback that would further improve the online probate service, email probatefeedback@justice.gov.uk.

Feedback could include:

  • thoughts on the changes
  • suggestions for further areas that need enhancement
  • any technical issues – provide screenshots where possible

For issues relating to a specific probate application, email contactprobate@justice.gov.uk directly to avoid any delay in resolving your enquiry.

If you have other queries or concerns about the probate service, email hmctscourtreform@lawsociety.org.uk.

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