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Further progress to the probate service

29 November 2019

Performance

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) state that they’re making good progress in terms of reducing the backlog to the probate service, with 26,000 grants being issued in October.

Complete applications (with all the necessary documentation included) for both professionals and lay applicants are now taking four weeks or less.

The majority of professional applications are being processed at three weeks.

HMCTS are working towards this being further reduced to two weeks.

Stops

We’ve received some reports from members stating that there has been a lack of communication regarding ‘stops’.

If this is something you continue to experience, contact probatefeedback@justice.gov.uk giving the details of your case and the name of the registry dealing with it.

A large percentage of stops are because HMCTS are waiting for the IHT 421 form. You can read our guidance outlining some of the common errors in applications.

Wales

HMCTS has a Welsh language team who are actively working to translate content for probate forms, grants and the online service.

Bilingual grants will be on the new system rather than the old system, Probate Man.

All this will require a period of testing to ensure it’s correct and it is anticipated this should be ready early next year.

Helpline

All calls from probate legal professionals have been centralised and are now being dealt with by the Birmingham Courts and Tribunals Service Centre (CTSC).

The probate CTSC helpline number is 0300 303 0648 and is open Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5pm.

HMCTS will be piloting extended hours for this telephone helpline.

From Monday 2 December, the helpline will be open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm and Saturday 8am to 2pm.

Online service

There’s been a relatively good uptake in firms registering with the new online probate service for legal professionals.

Register for the service

You must have a Pay By Account (PBA) account to use the new service. This lets you use the HMCTS Fee Account System to pay for online applications.

Apply for a PBA account

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be able to manage your accounts and start your online probate applications.

Registries

Following the closure of Birmingham District Probate Registry, HMCTS announced that as the probate reform project progresses there will be forthcoming closures.

Facilities will be made available to deal with non-contentious matters and at no point will parties be compelled to attend a Courts and Tribunals Service Centre.

Going forward

We’ll continue to engage with HMCTS on a regular basis to ensure matters continue to progress.

If you’re still experiencing delays, contact probatefeedback@justice.gov.uk and include the following information:

  • name of client
  • registry dealing with the application
  • case number
  • details of the case

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