New Probate Procedures

From the land of you could not make it up; excerpts from the letters issued by the ‘Probate Service Owner’ - In short practitioners now need to adhere to personal application procedures and forms etc.

John Cartlidge
Campion Solicitors

[Mr X]
Probate Service Owner
HM Courts & Tribunals Service

19th March 2020

Dear Sir/Madam,

New Grant of Representation Application Forms for Professionals

I am writing to inform you that from the 23rd March 2020 we will be launching new standard application forms for professional-practitioners. The forms were designed following extensive consultation with various representative bodies and practitioners in this area of work.

What forms are being introduced?
Three of our current grant of representation forms completed by citizens have been redesigned with the legal sector in mind. They are the PA1A (applying for grant of letters of administration), PA1P (applying for a grant of probate) and PA8A (applying for a caveat). These forms would need to be completed in place of the Statement of Truth, and can be accessed from Once completed they will be lodged at the Probate Registries as usual, and after a period, these forms will be sent to the Courts and Tribunal Service Centres. We will inform you of the change of address in due course.

Why are the forms being introduced?

HMCTS receive a lot of grant of representation applications from the professional sector - approximately 170,000 applications per year. Unlike in other areas of the court service, there is currently no standard format for these forms and with the future introduction of bulk scanning into the service, these forms will enable us to digitise the information and insert it directly into our systems. This will also reduce errors and speed up the process. How will you transition to the new forms?

The forms will be introduced on 23rd March 2020 for a period of 4 weeks.
During this period Probate Registries will be permitted to accept the old-style Statements of Truth, if received instead of the new forms. 
After the 4-week period (after 20th April 2020), if any Statements of Truth are received they will be returned requesting the appropriate new form.

[Mr X]
Probate Service Owner
HM Courts & Tribunals Service

26th March 2020

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: New Grant of Representation Application Forms for Professionals

Further to my letter of 19th March advising of the launch of new standard application forms for professional-practitioners, we have received some valuable feedback in respect of the transitional arrangements. Having considered your feedback we have reviewed these arrangements in light of the current unprecedented situation regarding COVID-19 and have extended the transition period from 4 weeks to 8 weeks. This is to enable practitioners sufficient time to progress any inflight cases that you have already been working on.

We would advise that any new work which is undertaken should now be completed by either using the new paper application forms (electronic signatures including typed signatures will be accepted) or applying online. HMCTS is actively encouraging the use of online applications as this enables us to maintain the service whilst many of our staff are also remote working.

Some of the feedback received questioned why we are introducing the new forms when everyone in the system is under so much pressure. The overriding reason is to enable us to utilise our bulk scanning service which digitises the paper applications and allows us to work remotely. This will help ensure your clients still receive their grants during this significant disruption to our normal business.

The revised timeline for the introduction of the new forms

The forms were introduced on 23rd March 2020
The time that the Probate Registries will be permitted to accept the old-style Statements of Truth, will be 8 weeks (extended from the previous 4 weeks suggested)
After the 8-week period (after 18th May 2020), if any applications with separate Statements of Truth are received they will be returned requesting the appropriate new combined form. 

You can apply online

We would like to take this opportunity again to confirm that the digital process can support the remote working that is currently taking place, if you want to apply for a grant of representation or caveat online, please visit:

Further information

We are currently considering other elements of our practices to see if any interim measures can be introduced to help you continue to operate during this pandemic and I hope to be able to share more news over the coming days.

If you would like further information about our work or have any further feedback on the forms, please email

Yours faithfully,


I would be interested to know how this squares with the requirement under Rule 8 NCPR 1987 for a Statement of Truth. Has the law changed?

Christopher Salomons
Russell-Cooke LLP

I have a couple of issues arising from the new forms. I am going to email for their guidance. The issues I have are:

  1. I have a Will but no living executors or beneficiaries. The forms are not geared up for this situation - do I complete both forms ( application for a Grant of Probate and application for a Grant of Letters of Administration)? I presume I need to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration with Will annexed as I cannot complete the form and say that there was not Will. If I send both forms I am concerned that the Probate Registry’s computers will ‘say no’!

  2. I have an Intestacy where genealogists are researching an extensive family tree - the research may take some time, although the class of persons entitled under the intestacy rules have been identified. We want to apply for a Grant to get on with the estate administration whilst the extent of the family tree is being identifies/verified. However, the form for a Grant of Letters of Administration asks for the number of beneficiaries entitled under the intestacy rules. I am going to have to say this is ‘to be confirmed’ as it is not known at the moment - the computer will probably say no again!

Sarah Arundel
Taylor Fawcett

If you get your applications for both in by the 18th of May you can use a statement of truth for each. After that date, I’m afraid, you may have to try and get a ruling from the registry as to whether the new form can be adapted accordingly.

Patrick Moroney

They do excel themselves don’t they. Lets replace a one page form with one twenty three pages long

Nigel George
Garner & Hancock


The following extract seems to be in conflict with the requirement to use the new PA1 forms. However I have not had a chance to look at the various Applications and Processes referred to in the NCP rules quoted therein.

Patrick Moroney

President of the Family Division: Guidance as to the replacement of affidavits with statements of truth in non-contentious probate processes

17 April 2020 |Family Court|News

Picture of the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane

President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane


  1. This guidance is issued to assist the courts and practitioners in relation to the use of statements of truth as a replacement for affidavits in non-contentious probate processes in current circumstances where at present many solicitors cannot access their offices or papers.

  2. To enable non-contentious probate business to continue during the current social conditions imposed for the coronavirus pandemic, I am authorising the District Probate Registrars to allow statements of truth to be used as an alternative to affidavits for the following applications and processes in the Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987 – 12 (1), 16, 19, 25 (2), 26, 32 (2), 44 (12), 46 (2) & (4), 47 (4) & (6), 48 (2)a, 50 (2), 51, 52, 53, 54 (3), 55 (2) until 30 July 2020.

There is another issue with the Form PAP1 which I have raised with Probate feedback and that is that it is less than clear how to complete the form when the partners of a firm of solicitors have been appointed as Executors. The form says to put the name of the firm in Section 1.1 as first name but then has no guidance for what or where the names of the partner signatories are completed or how it is proved that they are entitled. when I questioned this I was told that Note 1.1 provided the answer. I have questioned this but to date no response!

Anthony Tahourdin
Herrington Carmichael LLP


it would be good to know what feedback you get


Nigel George
Garner & Hancock

The following is the feedback I have received to the two questions I raised with probate feedback as set out in my post above:

'Regarding your first question, you should complete form PA1P as we will prove the will. This may be to a legatee or a person entitled to the estate undisposed of by the will. This will then issue as Letters of Administration with will annexed.

In answer to your second question, as long as it is certain that the persons making the application are entitled to the estate, the application can be made. The grant would be issued on the basis of the applicant being ‘one of the persons’ entitled. The application form should be populated with the numbers they are presently aware of otherwise the application will be stopped. You may wish to add further comments in the box 2.15 and 2.16 in support of the application. If there is any doubt as to the person making the application not being entitled, then the application should not be made. ’

Sarah Arundel
Taylor Fawcett

Has anyone succeeded in making an application (as agent) for probate online? Over the past fortnight, I have tried three times- the first two times I completed the course only to fail at the submission stage. The third time I was told at the second or third screen that the application couldn’t proceed. Progress of a sort, I suppose.

I realise that HMCTS has got a lot to contend with at the moment, but as the system is clearly only half-baked surely it should be withdrawn until its working correctly- unless of course it’s me that is defective

Tim Gibbons