Digital Changes to Probate Grants

Changes to probate grants are to be digitalised.

The UK’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has this month introduced digital amendments to probate grants. From 8th August, the probate service has been allowed to amend any errors in probate grants digitally.

Whereas the ‘old style’ of amendments (pen and ink) will continue to be valid, this news highlights the continuing modernisation of the legal sector. This follows news earlier this year about the potential for ‘Smart Contracts’ to be introduced – something we have expressed concerns about.

However, in the case of amendments to probate grants, digitalisation seems to be beneficial on the whole.

Benefits of the Digitalisation of Probate Grants

When considering changes to probate grants, there are benefits to digitalisation. Here’s why this news is inherently positive.

Lack of Ambiguity

Whereas handwriting can easily be misinterpreted, or ambiguous, digital changes are clear and unambiguous. This means there is no room for confusion or misunderstanding, and that the correct information is passed on. This serves to speed up the entire process…

More Efficient

It’s important to consider that the process of receiving probate grants can be fairly lengthy and drawn out – depending on the individual application. Any efficiencies or time-saving methods will help to speed up the entire process. Furthermore, the granting of probate can represent a key milestone in the grieving process; it can help add a sense of closure after the death of a loved one.

Instant Updates

Digital changes to probate update the master copy instantly; this means there is no need for handwritten changes to be manually updated. It also ensures the accuracy of the information held on record; it minimises the opportunity for ‘conflicting copies’.

The Concerns of Digitalisation

Whilst it is difficult to view the digitalisation of this aspect of the process of probate grants as anything other than positive, it is important to treat all new technological processes with caution – especially in the legal sector.

Whereas technology can be highly-effective in making positive changes to the legal sector, it is important to note that not all areas of the legal profession are suited to digitalisation. Here are some of the potential problems associated with the introduction of new technology.

Inappropriate Digitalisation

Digitalisation may dilute or damage some aspects of the profession. Traditional working practises sometimes cannot be improved upon.

Training and Teething Problems

Training is often required when new technology is introduced, and implementation is not always smooth. This can potentially lead to a poor customer experience, and slow down the legal process.

Barriers to Digitalisation

Whilst the introduction of ‘E-Signatures’ is a viable solution in many industries, there is often a statutory requirement for a person to physically sign a document in the legal profession.

The Removal of Hard Copies

Full digitalisation of a process takes hard copies out of the equation. Not everybody feels comfortable using technology. Indeed many people simply do not have the resources to access documents digitally.

The Loss of the Personal Touch

Digitalisation may sometimes deliver certain efficiencies and benefits. However, in-person meetings alongside the use of physical documents allow for a more personal and reassuring service.

In Summary

There is a place for technology in the legal sector. However, digitalisation of some aspects of the profession could be damaging to the customer experience. Therefore any implementation of technology must be done in response to professional feedback, and in a careful and considered manner.

Our Approach

At A M Davies, we are proud to deliver a personal service to our clients. This means being flexible to your needs and wishes. Many of our clients come to use at a difficult time in their lives; we therefore bring a sensitive and knowledgable approach to make the process as comfortable as possible. As part of our service, we regularly meet our clients in their own home and offer evening visits to suit your needs. We communicate effectively with all of our clients to ensure they are well-informed throughout the process.

About A M Davies Solicitors Harrogate