Homologation Service Update – July 2022

When to contact HMCTS

We continue to receive feedback from members on wait times when they contact HMCTS.

Phone lines are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

HMCTS has confirmed that Monday is its peak day and Friday is its quietest.

For a shorter wait time, the best times to contact HMCTS (including via webchat) are 8am to 9am and 5pm to 6pm.

Quieter times are usually Tuesday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

(This is subject to demand and resource availability.)

Wait eight weeks

According to the analysis, a large number of legal professionals and personal applicants do not wait for the eight-week deadline before contacting HMCTS to check on the status of their application.

HMCTS said it needed to see what more could be done to prevent users from doing so.

Inheritance tax

Waiting for Inheritance Tax (IHT) documentation remains the biggest stop.

If the IHT is to be paid, you must wait 20 business days before applying for the grant through MyHMCTS.

If you do not wait 20 business days or change the submission date, there is a high risk that your application will be delayed and a stoppage will be created.

Acknowledgment of receipt

It has been reported that some practitioners have yet to contact the CTSC regarding confirmation letters from HMRC related to receiving the IHT.

HMCTS said that in England and Wales, where an IHT421 is issued, a letter is sent to all applicants stating that this has been shared with HMCTS.

This letter must be received within 20 business days.

HMRC are interested to hear of examples where confirmation letters have not been received.

Requests “Ad collingenda bona”

Some concerns have been raised about ‘ad collingenda bona’ requests and HMCTS is committed to addressing them.

In order for HMCTS to identify these types of urgent/exceptional applications, applicants should state “URGENT AD COLLINGENDA BONA” in the subject line of their email and include:

  • file number
  • details of the deceased
  • where they sent the application (paper applications submitted to Newcastle Registry)

HMCTS will call you/the applicant to confirm receipt of the email and application and advise you of next steps, including any further information needed.

This will normally be done within 48 hours of receipt and validation of the request.

Regarding the end-to-end probate journey, HMCTS has identified areas for improvement in the internal case management system to help reduce processing time.

Requests terminated: inheritance tax

HMCTS has started to engage with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on the possibility of automating one of the data sharing processes which could help improve IHT termination rates.

Required documents

HMCTS plans to expand its management information so that he can establish the types of documents required.

This should allow HMCTS to determine where improvements are needed and share necessary communications with practitioners.

Missing documents

HMCTS has made changes to practitioners to ensure the checklist is more dynamic. He is currently tracking the changes to see what benefits they bring.

Redesign of the PA1A and PA1P forms

HMCTS has completed user testing with personal candidates. He hopes to have the forms ready for use by the end of 2022.

The objective is to facilitate the use of forms, in particular:

  • expand checklist to reduce delays
  • the introduction of more questions will condition

Our members reviewed the forms and provided feedback on the questions, layout and tips. Feedback will also be used to help plan future improvements to the online service.

Next steps

We are to have our next meeting in September.

If you have any questions or suggestions about probate service that you would like us to raise with HMCTS, email [email protected]

HMCTS is planning to hold a webinar on the changes/enhancements to the service that all probate practitioners will be able to access.

About the Certification Group

We meet regularly to discuss probate service issues with:

  • Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS)
  • STEP Company (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners)
  • Lawyers for the Elderly (SFE)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
  • Wealth Management Institute

Take a look at our March 2022 meeting update