Probate application procedure revised in England and Wales

Thursday, 18 January 2024
As of 17 January 2024, those applying for probate in England and Wales should no longer complete an IHT421 probate summary form to submit with their IHT400 inheritance tax form.

Instead, applicants must begin the process by submitting the IHT400 to HMRC, then wait for HMRC to send them an acknowledgement letter that will include a unique code and the gross and net estate values. The code and values can then be used to register the probate application on the HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) online portal. The HMRC statement does not say whether this will happen if tax is not payable.

If HMRC cannot issue a unique code for any reason, the letter will advise the applicant what to do next.

Probate applications where an IHT400 has been submitted to HMRC will not be accepted without these codes and values, in order to reduce the recorded number of delays caused by 'premature' probate applications. HMCTS has estimated that 9,000 'stops' in 2022 were due to IHT400 forms being submitted incorrectly.

No notice has been given of the change, but HMCTS guidance now states that applicants who completed an IHT400 form and applied after 17 January 2024 will be asked if they have received the letter from HMRC with the unique probate code.


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