Probate practice changes – the future is fast
03 April 2020
By now you will have seen the notice of our President on the new practices at the Probate Office. Grants will be processed but not issued until such a time that the lockdown is over. This is due to the fact that caveats cannot be lodged. As a reminder,
Order 79, r. 41 provides
41. Any person intending to oppose the issuing of a Grant of Probate or letters of administration shall either personally or by his solicitor, lodge a caveat in the Probate Office, or in a District Registry.
Lots of questions arise, but the most pressing being: when will Grants issue once the lockdown is over? I asked this of the Probate Office during the week and unfortunately they do not really know. Once the lockdown is over the Probate Office has indicated to me that they will make a decision as to how long they will wait to allow caveats be lodged and then inform the Law Society accordingly.
What really strikes me in all of this is that we will now have to accellerate the e-probate regime. This is a good thing and we should all embrace it. I hope we are now at the beginning of the end of paper based Probate applications. This will help us in the future to a speedier Probate regime but also insulate us from disruption in the event of future “lockdowns”.
The Probate Office indicated to me that queries will issue by email where possible. However, email queries won’t issue if papers are being returned.