Gillian Coverley and Thomas Pape round up their workshop on the MyHMCTS online portal

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The MyHMCTS platform  was updated allowing professional applications for grants of representation on 23 March 2020, and its use in certain circumstances was mandated on 2 November 2020, due in large part to lack of professional engagement.

For many professionals, moving from an offline system to an online one can be daunting. In our session, we offered the following tips to help users navigate the system.

Before you begin

  • Register with MyHMCTS – professional organisations need to be both registered with MyHMCTS and have a Payment by Account (PBA) account for payment of court fees. A master user in the organisation can invite other users to have an account.
  • Find out if you can use the online system. There are circumstances in which an application must still be made by post (using the professional version of the PA1A/P form), so make sure that your case does not fall into this category before creating a case online.
  • Examine the original will – original wills should be obtained for examination prior to creating an online case. The will may be missing or there may be inconsistencies or damage requiring explanation in the legal statement or supporting statements.

Tips for completing an online case

As a general rule, try to avoid the case being ‘stopped’.

  • Additional information boxes:
    • When adding the deceased’s details (during the second stage), anything typed into the first additional information box appears in the legal statement when generated. It is extremely useful for including clarifications as to special application circumstances (such as explaining damage to a will or clearing information). It ensures the information is seen by a probate officer and reduces the risk of the case being stopped (and potentially delayed).
    • In contrast, notes in the second provided box for additional information appear only on the application covering sheet, so are limited to listing additional documents being provided with the application. Avoiding stopped cases is key to making sure that applications go as smoothly as possible.
  • Checking and amending – the legal statement wording should not be amended from that which is generated. However, corrections and amendments can be made during the process, by indicating that changes are needed at a particular stage and pressing ‘complete’ and ‘submit’.
  • Overseas domicile – though it is possible to apply for probate for a death in an overseas domicile, the platform currently only accepts such cases if the whole (or substantially the whole) estate in the UK is immovable.
  • Intestacies – you should include only professional contact details when prompted and not the applicant’s details. This ensures that the applicant is not mistakenly contacted for information or with updates.

Future development

The latest update went live on 19 August 2021, and includes the ability for applications relating to trust corporations acting as executor to be made online and the ability for a practitioner to sign a legal statement on behalf of the applicant, which is a useful change in practice.