The Ministry of Justice, the Lord Chief Justice and the Senior President of Tribunals have issued a paper called “Transforming Our Justice System”. As regular readers of this blog will know probate originated as a procedure in the country’s courts and has remained there to this day. Even if there is no argument at all about a probate, technically speaking the grant is issued by a court office.
The paper, which is largely self-congratulatory in tone and is devoted to heralding a new era in which more and more activities will be carried out online, contains just a few lines about probate:-
“These same principles of simplification will be applied to probate. Dealing with probate affairs can be difficult and complicated at a time when people may be coping with bereavement. The probate system will be digitised so that in uncontested cases, most of the application process will be done online, making it much simpler for people to use.”
Of course many of our clients are elderly widows or widowers. They may have some knowledge of the internet and of computers but are unlikely to relish being told that they have to apply for probate for their late spouse online. The paper does contain an assurance that support will be forthcoming for the non-digital types but is very vague on detail. At Probaters we always concentrate on the individual client no matter what their level of digital competence. We doubt whether the new system will make much difference to that approach.