Do Probate Registries ask for ID

Does anyone know whether Probate Registries ask for proof of ID from those applying for the Grant of Representation? I can’t see any mention of it on the PA1 form, but I had assumed they did. We sometimes send Wills directly to the Probate Registry where we don’t have authority from all the executors to release the Will to just one executor, and I was contemplating to what extent we should check the ID of the executor who has contacted us before doing that.

I wonder also whether we should check the ID of personal applicants asking us to administer an oath prepared by the Probate Registry…

Diana Smart
Gordons LLP

No, Probate Registries do not ask for proof of ID from those applying for a Grant. In fact the latest version of the PA1 does not even require the applicants to sign it.

With regard to checking the ID of personal applicants, this is not necessary as the Oath is a sworn statement by the applicants that they are the persons named in it.

David Price
David Price & Co.


If the grant application is made via a solicitor, or other authorised person, under the existing anti-money laundering regulations the professional is required to complete identification and verification checks. There are sanctions if they fail to make the checks, or the checks are deemed inadequate.

Why then is it that an arm of Government does not even appear to consider any need to verify the identity of an individual to whom it grants authority to encash an estate, including the disposal of substantial assets. I can understand the situation where the application is made by an authorised probate practitioner, as the Probate Court should be able to rely upon the practitioner’s own AML procedures.

Whilst it may add to the burden of the Probate Court to insist upon personal applicants complying with standard ID&V requirements, might not such costs be covered by the increase in Probate Fees (which I am sure have gone away only until after the election).

There is a similar issue with HMRC, in that “spouse” relief can be claimed without any need to prove the existence of the marriage or civil partnership (or even that it is continuing).

Arms of Government appear to take a lot on trust, whilst expecting professional to double check almost every aspect of their client to avoid potential for sanction (or committing a heinous crime which the Government bodies seem insulated against).

Paul Saunders

Another aspect is the possible lack of compliance and loss of tax revenue due to the drive towards DIY Probate. I was contacted recently by someone who had “done Probate” themselves, and wanted to know how to transfer two properties - they were just going to do AS1’s, but the properties were going to different beneficiaries and had differing values (the Will said the beneficiaries should have equal shares) - there wasn’t enough cash estate to appropriate to make up the difference so they were going to “sort out” monies themselves. So really, it was effectively a sale/purchase type arrangement and 3% SDLT would be in issue. They did not know they had to report this, and if they submitted AS1’s to HMLR, then HMLR would not query whether any money was changing hands. Thus 3% SDLT may be easily avoided. I advised on this, but am still waiting for instructions from them to sort it out properly…

Richard Denby
Denby & Co

With regard to Richard Denby’s response, if he has no further contact with the individual in question (or the individual tells him he will carry on regardless) is Richard’s knowledge such as to be required to submit a suspicious activity report on the basis the individual might now intend to avoid paying SDLT?

Paul Saunders