As a part of their digitalisation and rationalisation of the probate systems and procedures HMCTS have changed the approach to be taken when an authorised practitioner applies for a grant of representation on behalf of their client. Authorised practitioners will now be required to complete a PA1 form. There are two versions of the form the PA1A for administration cases and the PA1P for probate cases and there are specific forms for practitioners as opposed to the forms to be used by personal applicants. You can access the forms through the Gov.uk website here. The practitioner forms are principally the same as the personal applicant versions with just a few additional questions about the practitioner and the case and where an authorised person is applying there is still no need to send the death certificate.
The big change is that as practitioners you will no longer be required to draft statements of truth as there is the ‘Legal Statement’, to be signed by the applicants or the authorised person, incorporated within the relevant PA1 form. This replaces the statement of truth and will certainly make life easier. This of course means that oaths in this context are no longer used.
The new forms are available now and should be used straight away. The last date for submissions under the old approach was originally 20 April 2020 but this has now been extended to 18 May 2020 After that date only applications using the new forms will be accepted. Applications can be made online or in paper format, online is clearly the preferred method as the system becomes more digital. If a paper submission is to be made note that the number of probate registries has vastly reduced with only eight remaining and practitioners must send their forms to the correct probate office. Details of the correct Probate Registry can be found here.
We will be updating our Probate Manual shortly to take account of these changes.