Probate Registry querying numbering in Wills

Is anyone else getting pointless/time wasting requests from the Probate Registry about “missing clauses” which are not in fact missing?

I have had 2 requests for “further information” in the last week where they have stated that clauses are missing when they are not. I’m not sure why this has suddenly started happening or what their remit is regarding scrutinising the numbering of Wills?

I just wondered if anyone else had had similar issues?

Yes I had one of these where the Probate Registry wanted to know in a will which had no clause 3 but two clause 4’s whether this was a clerical error.

Neither of these affected the executorship as the executor clause was Clause 2.

We contacted the will writer who confirmed this as a clerical error and replied to the PR as such but also asked on what basis the stop had been placed as the incorrect numbering had no bearing on the application being made by the exors. No reply but grant issued a few days later.

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The PR requested further information from me in relation to the year in the will having been changed by hand from 2020 to 2021 (a delay in end of year drafting to signing!). However, the Will was unbound so we sent it with affidaivits of condition AND due execution in which the witnesses attested to the date the Will was executed!

I am not sure if this is all down to lack of knowledge of the law or plain common sense!

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Sadly, I suspect there is now a long written procedure that all the (unqualified) staff follow blindly.

If they are actually going through every will checking all the clause numbering, that would explain some of the delays…

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I have suggested that the PR might recruit part-time retired old geezers comme moi (but not so bolshy) and WFH to speed up process. The great snag is that it strikes at the heart of Civil Service hegemony and “Not Invented Here” prejudice, plus London-Centric anti-WFH hypocrisy. Such a project would require Imagination and Vision. I hope they are not all blind as Andrew fears but it would explain a lot.And there is always a cast iron reason or several for Not Doing Anything, except a spot of lunch in Pall Mall. A favourable response, or indeed any at all, is therefore definitely not anticipated.

I have now sent HMLR (waiting over a year for registration of a TR1) a very nearly polite letter with, as a deep hint, the JR Pre-action Protocol as a random enclosure. Inspector Knacker of the Yard may visit soon to check my thinking and Lèse-majesté.

Holding reply received on 13 February 2024:

"Dear Customer [sic… Consumer Rights Act 2015? …Ah, no contract] [ suggest instead Dear No Mark Whinger]

Please do not reply to this email. This mailbox is not monitored.

Thank you for contacting HM Land Registry. Your reference is …

We aim to give a full response to most issues within five working days, in line with our service standards. If the matter needs to be investigated further, we will respond in accordance with standards in our Complaints procedure.

However, we are currently taking longer than normal to respond. Please bear with us, we will respond as quickly as we can"


Complaints procedure

If you experience a problem with HM Land Registry’s services or procedures, please get in touch.

](Complaints procedure - HM Land Registry - GOV.UK)
Part 54 my old friend will soon ride to the rescue, methinks, and a without notice application for leave by an LIP entitled to deeply sympathetic care and attention, for an ingenu who has no legal knowledge.

Jack Harper

Yes, last year I had a query regarding missing numbering as the Will had not been scanned correctly by the Probate Registry. It took almost an entire year for them to rescan the Will correctly. Our complaint was basically brushed aside.

I have found that a formal complaint coupled with a Ministerial Complaint (ie get your Client to raise the complaint through their MP) usually results in a Grant being issued within a few days.