On 26th April 2018, Probaters received an email from the Probate Service of England and Wales informing us that the following day the rules were going to be changed to require applications to be made online. As so little notice had been given the Probate Service have kindly advised us that until procedures are clearer, we can continue to use paper applications “so for the time being, therefore, there is no need to change any existing work that you have ongoing”.
In the longer term, these changes are going to put immense pressure not only on solicitors who have yet to embrace fully the demands of current information technology but also, and perhaps more importantly, lay executors who are not really computer literate. As many executors are in their 50s, 60s or even older, this is not good news for many people who are being asked to deal with complicated procedures at a very difficult time. At least in the short term, it will be more likely that executors will turn in increasing numbers to Probaters and similar firms for help and guidance through the process.