When someone dies and leaves a will, it is the duty of the deceased’s family, solicitor or executors to officially apply for authorisation to administer the deceased’s estate. Whether the estate is valued below or above the Inheritance Tax threshold, grant of probate is still required.
If the deceased did not leave at will, a family member or solicitor will need to apply for letters of administration, which comes from the court, which gives that person the authority to administer the estate of the deceased.
You can apply for Online Probate Application via the government’s MyHMCTS platform, whether it is grant of probate or letters of administration, although you will still be required to send the relevant documentation by post.
Applying for probate online
MyHMCTS (HM Courts & Tribunals Service) was established in 2018 as part of the courts reform and to speed up the probate process when someone dies. Using the MyHMCTS service provides for a simpler, online method to apply for probate by either family members or executors of a deceased, as well as by legal probate specialists. Since its inception, around 30,000 probate applications have been submitted; 4,466 probate specialists have registered to use MyHMCTS and 92% of users have been satisfied or very satisfied with the service.
You can use MyHMCTS to make probate applications that fall under:
- Deceased’s estates that have a will (grant of probate).
- Deceased’s estates without a will (letters of administration).
- Deceased’s estates with an annexed will (letters of administration).
In some cases, it is not possible to apply for probate online, such as:
- It is a second grant of probate application for the same estate.
- When there is a foreign will.
- When the application is accompanied with a document to prove a copy of the will.
- When the person applying for grant of probate or letters of administration is under the age of 25 years.
- When the probate application is related to resealing under Colonial Probates Acts 1892 and 1927, under rule 39.
How to apply for probate online
Before you or a professional is able to start the online probate process, there are several steps that need to be taken first. You will need to:
- Create a MyHMCTS Payment by Account in order to pay the probate application fee. Currently, the fee is £273 for estates that are valued in excess of £5,000. For estates valued below this figure, there is no fee, unless it is a second grant pertaining to the same estate when a £20 fee is charged.
- If you are a probate specialist working for a firm, you will need to register your firm with MyHMCTS before you can proceed.
- You will also need to set up your MyHMCTS user account.
- If the deceased’s estate is valued over the current Inheritance Tax (IHT) threshold of £325,000, you will need to complete forms IHT400 and IHT421 (depending on circumstances) and send them to HMRC. You will not be able to apply for probate online via the MyHMCTS platform for 20 working days. This is because the Probate Service needs to wait for HMRC to send them the completed IHT421 form.
Once you have completed the above steps, and waited 20 working days (if applicable), you will be able to sign in to your MyHMCTS account to create a probate case following these steps:
- Start your online probate application by clicking on ‘Create Case’. From the drop down menus, select the Jurisdiction, i.e. ‘Manage probate application’, choose the case type, such as ‘Grant of representation’ and then select the State. Once completed, click on ‘Start’.
- You will be asked for your organisation’s details, i.e. whether you are a probate practitioner. If you answer no to this question, you will then be prompted to name the executor – only answer yes to this question if there is a will and the person applying has been named in the will as an executor – or to name the person acting as an executor as part of an appointed firm or trust nominee. If none of the above apply, select no.
- You will now be asked to complete the deceased’s details, including their full name on the death certificate, their date of birth and date of death, their permanent address at the time of their death and whether they had any assets in another name.
- On the next screen will be the details in respect of Inheritance Tax and the forms completed, depending on whether the deceased died before 1st January 2022 or after this date. If the date of death was after 1st January 2022, new regulations mean that you may have had to complete different forms
- You will be asked which probate application you are making, i.e. grant of probate or letters of administration, and then enter the relevant details. Each type of application has a different set of questions and you will be taken through a set of different screens to add all the information.
- Once this is completed, you will be required to review a legal statement and declaration (you can change this if required). Once happy, send to other executors (if applicable) to digitally sign, unless you are authorised to digitally sign on their behalf.
- You will then be asked to pay the probate fee and if you require additional copies of the grant of probate/letters of administration. It is always a good idea to purchase a few extra copies at £1.50 each. Then submit your application.
Although you have applied for probate online, you will still need to send physical documents to MyHMCTS for them to verify your application. These documents include:
- The original will (if there is one) or annexed will.
- The coversheet from your online application – you will need to print this – that details your probate application reference number. If you don’t have a printer, write the reference number of a sheet of paper.
- IHT205 and IHT217 inheritance tax forms if the estate is below the value of £5,000.
- A copy of the signed legal statement and declaration.
Always make sure you keep copies of the documents you are sending and despatch using Royal Mail’s recorded delivery service. If you are sending a notarial copy or a court-sealed copy of the will, you will need to send a cover letter as well that details where the original will is being kept and the reason why it is not being released. Your probate application should be completed within 8-12 weeks.
At Probates Online, we offer a will writing service or a Complete Estate Service to help you through the probate process and estate administration upon the death of a loved one. If you are looking for advice on inheritance tax, gifts or trusts, or need to apply for Grant of Probate, Letters of Administration, or would like to take advantage of our entire Estate Administration service, visit our website for more information or contact us today.