Online probate application - signature of legal statement

Can anyone please confirm to me whether the executor actually has to sign the legal statement which is produced through the online application process?

The guidance on the service reads:

“This is the legal statement and declaration for you and your client to review. If there are no changes, your client can authorise you to declare on their behalf.

You can print the legal statement and declaration and ask your client to sign it for your own records. A photocopy of the signed statement should be submitted along with your evidence in support.”

And the legal statement starts as follows:

“The executor believes that all the information stated in the legal statement is true. They have authorised [Gordons LLP] to sign a statement of truth on their behalf.”

This seems to suggest that we can sign the statement for the client, but the signature block then clearly indicates it should be signed by the executor. It would be handy if we could just email a copy to the executor for approval and then sign it for them, but I would be reassured to learn if anyone has done that in practice (and the grant been issued).

Diana Smart
Gordons LLP

No one replied to Diana’s post, so I’m not sure whether what was suggested would be acceptable even though it would certainly be practical. I have just come across a problem with the legal statement. There are two executors but when one reaches the signature area it is only set up for only one executor to sign. We tried to add another executors name for signing but failed and ended up having to hand-write the second executor’s name below, which seems rather unprofessional. Does anybody know how you can adapt the form for more than one executor to sign. Incidentally at the commencement of the form it is preset to say that the Will appoints “an executor” , Shouldn’t it read “an executor/ executors”? Perhaps we are missing something!

Patrick Moroney
Bwl solicitors

On the applications I have made on behalf of lay executors I have not had the statement that Diana refers to authorising us to sign on their behalf. All ours state is that the executor authorises us to send in the correct will and to submit the application on their behalf. I wonder if this is to do with how we are answering some of the initial questions?

On Patrick’s point i have hand amended the SOT to include more than one executor and have not had any problems so far with that. As far as i can see there is no way of amending it through the online system. Presumably this will be corrected at some point.

Nigel Scase
Greene & Greene


We have interpreted the rules as saying that the executor/client needs to sign a copy of the SoT. I have been emailing the document for them to print out at home and sign. We then ask that they scan and email it back before posting the original back. The Probate Registry only want to see a photocopy (so a print out the scan) of the SoT signed by the Executor(s). This has been acceptable to the registry.

We have had occasions where they have asked for further copies of the signed documents. Unfortunately, in one case the original had been sent and then lost at HMCTS which meant we could not supply a further copy and had to have it signed again. I think that the Statement of Truth they are referring to is the submission of the application and any requisitions they raise by email which, I think, they refer to as Statements of Truth to add additional confusion.


We get each client to sign a separate document as above. It saves the same document having to be sent here, there and everywhere. These separate photocopies are then sent along with the IHT205 and original Will to Harlow. As mentioned above, we ask for the originals and keep them on file along with copies of the signed IHT docs (and/or evidence of approval if we have signed them on behalf of the client in accordance with the Covid guidance)


I think you are looking at different parts of the Statement of Truth. Diana is referring to the top line whilst the lines you are quoting is towards the end of page 1 (for ours anyway) and below the declaration.

Just as an aside, we have run into some issues where partners were appointed as Executors whereby the registry have asked about power being reserved to the other partners. I have now begun to state something similar to the old wording from oaths in the ‘grounds for making this application and supporting evidence’ box stating that X is a partner in Y solicitors as at the date of death and notice of this application is deemed to have been served on the other partners’ which seems to have done the trick

Chris Shaw
Graysons Solicitors

We have been using the online service to submit probate applications - with mixed success. Apart from the challenge of only being able to have one login for the whole firm (bonkers!) and the verification codes being sent to one individual, our biggest issue is with the lack of consistency in issuing the grants. When we submitted paper applications, we signed the PA1P on behalf of the executors (with their authority). By using the online service, we are also authorised to sign on behalf of the executors, but the probate registry now want signed statements of truth from all the acting executors PLUS a signed statement from the firm too. This advice (obtained today from the probate helpline) just seems to be at odds with the principle that by using professionals we have a streamlined approach. Even with the PA1P paper system, we were incredibly efficient and receiving grants within a reasonable timeframe, even during Covid and we seem to have gone backwards and not forwards.

I would be interested to hear what others think and is there anything we can do to get clarification and ensure that we as professionals can still offer the best service, as am sure we are not alone in being frustrated with the process?

Thank you

Sharon Heselton
B P Collins

Just had the following from the probate helpline which might help others:

"I can confirm that we are aware of the confusion that is being caused here and it will be clarified on our next version of the forms, whilst also being clarified in an upcoming release on the online system. This release will also allow you to sign the legal statement on behalf of your clients.

Hopefully the below will clear this up in the meantime.

When submitting paper applications (PA1P and PA1A), yes, you can indeed sign on behalf of executors. You can sign using either a digital or wet signature.

In regard to the online system I will be referring to this guidance.

When submitting digitally, executors must sign the generated legal statement eg step 6.1 in the guidance. You cannot sign on behalf of your client/ executors as of yet. The executors can sign using either a digital or wet signature.

You agree to the statement of truth eg 6.3.1 and 6.3.2. Please pay particular heed to the information given at 6.3.2 as to whose name should appear in this section."

I have just come off the telephone to HMCTS after waiting 15 mins. which I suppose is not too bad even though it is frustrating. My reason for calling was to establish what information is needed to be included in the legal statement regarding the deceased name where an alias grant was required. The guidance at paragraph 2.3 regarding the deceased’s name, states that you use the name shown on the death certificate. I explained that in my case the first name on the birth certificate was spelt differently to that on the death certificate. I also explained that the spelling in the will was the same as in the death certificate and that there were assets in both names. It was suggested to me that the matter be covered in a letter sent with the documents which are submitted. I mentioned that it seemed a bit odd that the legal statement does cater for this as it does in para 2.7 of PA1P. The person I spoke to didn’t appear to be quite sure of the procedure and didn’t comment. I had thought that, space permitting, the explanation could be included in the Grant of probate details section but having tried to do so it did not allow it. I have therefore resorted to inserting it in the section “Executors applying for probate” where change of names for executors is shown. I will be interested to hear from others. Incidentally I feel that the true name of the deceased should appear on the grant followed by the alias name or names but perhaps I am being “old fashioned”

Patrick Moroney

I printed out two versions of S o T for each executor to sign. It is ridiculous. Is there software that can generate a further clause for signature if additional parties are added on the S o T?