Jurisdiction in probate matters
Jurisdiction in probate matters

The following Wills & Probate guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Jurisdiction in probate matters
  • Role of the court
  • Probate jurisdiction
  • Probate jurisdiction—Family Division
  • Right of interpretation—Family Division
  • Non-contentious/common form probate business
  • Contentious/solemn form probate business
  • Chancery Division—probate claims
  • Probate rules
  • Fees
  • more

Coronavirus (COVID-19): As announced on 17 April 2020, the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has authorised District Probate registrars to allow statements of truth to be used in place of affidavits for non-contentious probate applications and processes during the coronavirus pandemic. The relevant rules which are affected by the guidance are: Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987, SI 1987/2024, rr 12(1), 16, 19, 25(2), 26, 32(2), 44(12), 46(2), 46(4), 47(4), 47(6), 48(2)(a), 50(2), 51, 52, 53, 54(3) and 55(2). The guidance is valid until 30 July 2020 but may be made permanent by statutory instrument in future. See: LNB News 17/04/2020 92. For updates on key developments and related practical guidance on the implications of coronavirus for practitioners, see: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Private Client—overview and Coronavirus (COVID-19) toolkit.

Role of the court

The High Court has jurisdiction in relation to probates and letters of administration, in particular all contentious and non-contentious jurisdiction relating to:

  1. testamentary causes and matters

  2. the grant, amendment or revocation of probates and letters of administration

  3. the real and personal estates of deceased persons

Probate jurisdiction

The probate jurisdiction of the High Court is divided between the Family Division and the Chancery Division (and county court).

The Family Division deals with non-contentious probate business.

The Chancery Division deals with contentious or solemn form probate business.