Urgent LoA applications

I’d welcome any advice on how, under the new regime, to expedite two grants of letters of administration which have become urgent . There is no need for a grant ad colligenda bona.

  • One has just been submitted electronically - could anybody advise the best way to contact an actual living person with authority? We could send a letter by email or post explaining the new urgency.

  • The other cannot be sent electronically and will shortly be sent to a Registry by post. is it possible to make a call? Accompanying letter? Separate letter to the Registrar or copies to both?

I appreciate/fear the answer may involve a burnt offering to the probate gods.

Andrew Goodman

It’s not an answer, I’m just sympathising with you. I think it would be easier to get an audience with the Pope than to find someone at HMCTS who could help you!

Patrick Moroney

We have been telephoning the Probate Registry on an almost daily basis to chase matters. There seemed to be some suggestion that if you could prove that it was urgent you might be able to speed things up. I have also been in regular e mail contact via email to probatefeedback@Justice.gov.uk Cannot guarantee success but might help. Good luck.

Incidentally it would be useful to know if subscribers to the forum have encountered problems with IHT 421 being sent direct to the Probate Registry. We think that this is adding to the problems because the Probate Registry seem to have problems linking form IHT 421 to probate applications. I have made representations to both the Registry and HMRC suggesting that the IHT 421 should be sent to the Practitioner and not the the Registry so that the Practitioner can lodge the Will and Form 421 at the same time.

Anthony Tahourdin
Herrington Carmichael LLP

In two estates in which I am acting, there was such an inordinate delay in receiving the Grant that I had to make a complaint in each estate to the Probate Service. In each case the person handling the complaint told me that the IHT421 had not been “matched” to the Probate application. I am sure that those estates are not the only ones where this has happened.

I agree with Anthony Tahourdin that it would be sensible for HMRC to revert to sending IHT421 to the practitioner, rather than to HMCTS, as was the practice until relatively recently. Indeed, I usually receive a letter from HMRC telling that because of Covid they cannot send the IHT421 to me and that they have sent it to HMRC. Surely, if HMRC can send a letter to tell me this they could just as easily send me the IHT421. I suggested this to the complaints handler in each of the estates to which I referred above.

Cliona O’Tuama

Some time ago I asked HMRC to send me their calculations for a refund which didn’t tally with mine. Yesterday, after a reminder, I got a letter dated 8th February from HMRC Business, Tax and Customs saying

‘Thank you for your letter dated 21 September 2020. I am very sorry for the delay in replying.

Due to current measures to control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) we are not able to send you copies of your Inheritance Tax calculations.’

I’m still working on my response.

Tim Gibbons

I received a letter from HMRC telling me that the inheritance tax calculations were enclosed but there was nothing enclosed. I wrote to HMRC telling them that the calculations were not enclosed in the letter and I asked them to send the calculations to me. I received a letter in reply similar to the one quoted by Tim Gibbons, telling me that they were not able to send me calculations!

Cliona O’Tuama


Thanks all for your help (and sympathy!). It really is quite an accomplishment to take a working system and bring it grinding to a halt in such a short time.

Andrew Goodman
Osborne Clarke LLP

I agree completely with Andrew Goodman. The system worked perfectly and it is now utterly shambolic.

Cliona O’Tuama


Hi Tim, Cliona

I have managed to get IHT calculations, albeit for a trust rather than estates. I rang HMRC and spoke to someone who was wfh who arranged for them to be printed/posted from the office. I got the impression from our conversation that because we had already paid the tax, ie they didn’t need any more from the client, they hadn’t sent out the calculations. After this conversation as I only received some, not all, of the calculations (several events for one trust) I had to call again. This time I got someone in the office who printed them then and there and I have now received them…

Before the above, I was told I couldn’t have calculations for a revised (reduced) IHT penalty. Given that I was subsequently sent calculations for the related IHT, I think now perhaps they just couldn’t be bothered to have them printed, possibly because the client had already paid.

I hope this is useful

Sara Spencer


I’m completely fed up with the system. Old style postal applications (supposedly more complicated matters) are coming back quicker than online applications (albeit not in order of the date they were submitted) and today when I tried to login to the online portal the system appeared to be down!