A change in Probate procedure brings to an end a long history of swearing of Oaths by executors in order to prove Wills, and marks another step forward in the process to make Probate applications digital.
Probate is an area of law which can generally be relied on to be unchanging from decade to decade. There have been no significant changes to the formalities or procedure for Probate applications for many years…..until recently.
Since 27th November 2018, it has been possible to use a “Statement of Truth” to replace the Oath when applying for a Grant of Probate (and other types of Grant). The new Statements of Truth do not need to sworn before an independent solicitor – they simply need to be signed by the executors or administrators, without even a requirement for their signatures to be witnessed.
Unlike with Oaths, the Executors do not need to have the Will with them when they sign the Statement of Truth, there is no need for them to mark (sign) the Will as an “exhibit”, and no need to pay a commissioner’s fee of £5 for the Oath plus £2 for the Will and each Codicil. A loss of “beer money” for many solicitors!
The long-term goal is to make more Probate applications digital. Since July 2018, it has been possible for personal applicants (not solicitors) to make certain straightforward applications online, and this service is due to be expanded going forward, with the introduction of digital Statements of Truth being part of this process.
For more information, please contact the partner having responsibility for your affairs or any partner in the private client department here.
Katie Martin, Senior Associate