A revised probate application procedure has been introduced in England and Wales.

The changes mean those applying for probate should no longer complete an IHT421 probate summary form to submit with their IHT400 inheritance tax form – instead they should follow the revised process as outlined below:

  • Submit the IHT400 form to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC);
  • Wait for HMRC to send them an acknowledgement letter – this will include a unique code and the gross and net estate values; and
  • The code and values should then be used to register the probate application on the HM Courts and Tribunals (HMCTS) online portal (it should be noted HMRC have not clarified if this will happen if tax is not payable)

If a code cannot be issued by HMRC, the applicant will be advised in the acknowledgement letter as to what they should do next.

The code and net estate values must be submitted with the IHT400 for the probate application to be accepted. The new process has been introduced to minimise the number of delays caused by ‘premature’ probate applications.

The submission of an incorrect IHT400 form can result in lengthier delays to probate being processed. According to the Family Court Statistics Quarterly: January to March 2023, Grants of Probate that were ‘stopped’ (if an error is made and further information requested) during this period took an average of 20 weeks to be issued, compared to the average timeframe of approximately 9 weeks.

For any queries on the revised probate procedure or help in submitting a Grant of Probate, please get in touch with your usual M+A Partners contact or email enquiries@mapartners.co.uk

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