Online probate

Last year the Government issued a Statutory Instrument giving Probate Registries the power to accept online probate applications on a pilot basis. I have not yet come across any of the test cases in our local Probate Registry. It is being run on a restricted basis and is confined to simple cases where no inheritance tax is due. Nevertheless this is a sign of what is to come in the future.

The Law Commission has, at present, a consultation in progress about the future of wills. Although it is not a major part of the consultation the commission has raised the question of what wills will look like in the future in an age where digitalization becomes pervasive.

Even though it will be years before paper wills are replaced, anyone making a will now should remember to make adequate provision for his or her digital assets including such things as online banking and share trading accounts. Put yourself in the position of your executor. You are no longer around. What is he or she going to need in order to ensure that your estate is wound up efficiently.

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