Obtaining Probate made simpler...

I have seen someone to swear an application for Probate, which they are dealing with themselves. There is a “copy Will” exhibited to the Oath. I recognised the deceased name as I made the Will not that long ago and have checked and we are still holding the original Will.

The applicant, in all honesty, has just sent the copy Will to the Probate Registry with the application form and they seemingly are happy with this. They have not been asked about the original Will.

If I want to prove a copy of a Will I need to prepare an Affidavit and obtain an Order first.

I don’t think the process of obtaining Probate needs to be over-complicated but surely there is scope for fraud here if the Registries are going to adopt this practice.

Have any other practitioners seen this?!

Justin Wallace
Brewer Harding & Rowe

I have also sworn several oaths where personal applications are being made where a copy Will is exhibited. I have always assumed that the original was with the Probate Registry.

Having checked the PA1 notes they do say that the original Will should be sent to the Probate Registry and that failure to do so will delay the application. I think it is worth checking the position with the Probate Registry in this case.

What worries me slightly more was the following note to 3.1 on for PA1 :

‘a will does not have to be a formal document.’

Sarah Arundel
Taylor Fawcett

I recently had to obtain probate for a family member, and asked to do so
under the “online” service announced last year. I was told this was still
under going trials on an invitation-only basis, but was sent by email a
draft application to print off and complete. I returned this by hand to
Brighton District probate registry, with original will etc, to be told that
the trial was being run from Manchester but they would pass on the papers
and I should hear within 10 working days. The grant was issued by
Manchester within 2 days, ie presumably on the same day they received the
papers, so well done them.

More pertinently to this discussion, the application form included a
“Statement of truth” - so did not need to be sworn.

Kevin Mullen

I have recently assisted someone with a personal application and I had to send the original will to the registry with the PA1 application. They then prepare an oath and return that with a copy will.

For the OP, I would check to see if the copy will they came with is a copy of the Will you hold, or a copy of an older will, the original of which they may have held?

Kamlesh Samji
KRS Estate Planning

The copy Will with the sworn Oath is a copy of the original we hold - which isn’t being requested by the Probate Registry

Justin Wallace
Brewer Harding & Rowe

That’s rather worrying then. I would take it up with the registrar’s, but I suspect they are relying on the fact that the deponent is swearing that the attachment is a copy referred to, which is sworn to be the last will! Convoluted, but in this case technically correct.
Still worrying though, how easy it is.

Kamlesh Samji
KRS Estate Planning

It’s a mistake on the Registry’s behalf – they have not spotted that the Will lodged is a copy and should be informed.

I would hope that it would not get past the Grant signer and at the very least be picked up at that stage of the process, but everything is rushed through so quickly these days.

Helen Dawson