Upcoming changes in Probate procedures and forms
- New Probate Rules
- Major changes in the procedure for publishing notices of intention to apply for probate, administration and reseal
- New Probate Forms
On 10 September 2012, section 42 of the Probate and Administration Act 1898 was amended to provide that notices of notices of intention to apply for probate or administration were to be published in the manner prescribed by the rules. Previously that section provided that such notices were to be published in a newspaper.
On 3 December 2012, the Supreme Court Rules Committee approved amendments to the Supreme Court Rules that replace the existing Probate Rules in Part 78. Included in the new Probate Rules is provision that notices of intention to apply for probate, administration or for reseal are to be advertised online on the NSW Online Registry Website. The existing probate forms in Schedule F of the Supreme Court Rules will be repealed.
On 3 December 2012, the Uniform Rules Committee approved new probate forms under section 17 of the Civil Procedure Act 2005. The Uniform Rules Committee also approved some minor amendments to the Uniform Civil Rules consequential upon the new Probate Rules.
When will the new rules and forms take effect?
These changes will take effect from Monday, 21 January 2013.
What do these changes mean
From Monday, 21 January 2013 all notices of intention to apply for probate, administration or a reseal to the Supreme Court of NSW will be required to be advertised via the NSW Online Registry website. A link to the Online Registry website will be provided on the Supreme Court website. From Monday, 21 January 2013, advertising these notices in the newspaper will no longer be necessary and will cease to meet the requirements of the probate rules.
The new online registry website will provide a single location to search for notices of intention to apply. Notices will be published within 10 minutes of submitting and payment being made. The fee to advertise a probate notice on the NSW Online Registry website will be $40 per notice. Payment must be made by credit card using the Online Registry's secure online payment facility.
Further information about how to use the new facility, including screen-shots and Frequently Asked Questions (including alternative options if you do not have access to a credit card or secure internet connection), will be published on the Supreme Court website in the next few weeks.
Apart from the above major changes to the rules governing publishing notices, in general, adopt the general procedures under the old rules. However, there are some subtle differences which the profession should make themselves aware of, particularly in relation to potentially contentious proceedings. In particular the new rules provide that persons served with notice of probate proceedings will be bound by any orders made in the proceedings. The rules relating to the issue of citations have also changed; parties may now serve notice of the proceedings. A link to the new Probate Rules will be available on the Supreme Court website in the near future.
The new approved Probate Forms will be published on the UCPR website in the next few weeks (with links from the Supreme Court website). The new approved forms adopt the standard UCPR format and resolve an ambiguity as to whether probate forms should be set out in the UCPR format or the old Supreme Court forms format. Generally the content of the new forms reflects the content of the old prescribed forms, although the wording has been updated to reflect the new rules. The new approved forms should be used in relation to any new proceedings commenced after 21 January 2013, and in relation to any documents filed in existing proceedings after that date. Any documents filed before 21 January 2013 that adopt the new approved forms will not be rejected.
The profession is asked to provide feedback in relation to the content and usability of the new probate forms. This feedback will be used in considering future amendments to the Forms. This feedback can be sent to the Court by email to: SupremeCourt.Feedback@courts.nsw.gov.au