Can I Still Apply For Probate During Lockdown?


Paperwork for probate

A bereavement is an extremely difficult time but during such uncertainty when services have been significantly reduced, these feelings can exacerbate. Rest assured that probate services will continue despite social distancing measures.

Probate is a vital legal requirement and will continue to remain an essential service during the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown restrictions.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has announced that remote working will mean that applications are taking longer to process and ways of working will need to adapt.

What do I need to do before probate can be granted?

  • Secure a medical certificate

A medical certificate signed by a doctor is needed before the probate process can start. If the deceased died in hospital, the certificate will be taken care of by the hospital. Otherwise, the deceased’s doctor will need to be contacted.

In these troubling times, given restrictions and increased pressure on medical professionals, this may take a little longer than usual.

  • Register the Death

All deaths should be registered within five days using the closest registry office in order to obtain a death certificate. You will need to take the medical certificate along with any identification documents belonging to the deceased that you have access to.

  • Ascertain whether the deceased had a Will

Finding the Will, if there is one is a crucial part in the probate process. In addition to highlighting the express wishes of the deceased, it will also establish who has been appointed to the role of executor or personal representative tasked with administering the estate. It will be there job to ensure all liabilities and assets are calculated and distributed to creditors and the beneficiaries laid out in the Will.

If the deceased has failed to explain where a copy of the Will can be found, loved ones could try the National Wills Registry which will check to see if a Will had been made.

If the deceased died without a Will, the intestacy laws will establish who is best placed to administer the estate and will decide who the beneficiaries will be.

  • Collate paperwork, passwords and digital records

Hunting down the paper trail a person leaves behind can be increasingly difficult. Gathering all essential records and documents will help to create a more accurate probate process. All documents that will help to notify organisations like the DVLA, post office, banks, creditors etc. of the death should be found during this stage.

By this stage, the executor will have the information necessary to apply for a Grant of Probate. Obviously, the process to this point is difficult, time consuming and often overwhelming. Our specialist team can be on hand to offer bespoke, accurate advice to minimise delays and ensure the estate is administered smoothly. 

Cornerstone Wills are here to help with your probate needs. Speak to our experts today, call us on 01276 415835/6/7