Probate business in Northern Ireland is assigned to the Chancery Office within the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice. About 6,000 probate applications each year are processed through two registry locations
- the Principal Registry in Belfast (located in the Royal Courts of Justice) - which can deal with probate of the estate of any deceased person
- the District Registry in Londonderry (located in Londonderry Courthouse) - which can deal with probate of the estates of deceased people who had a fixed place of abode in County Fermanagh, Londonderry or Tyrone
From the 30 September 2015 the Principal Registry in Belfast will manage all probate applications in Northern Ireland, however pending applications lodged prior to this date will continue to be managed by the District Registry in Londonderry.
You will still be able to lodge probate applications & caveats in the District Registry in Londonderry, however upon receipt these will be transferred to the Principal Registry in Belfast for processing.
You may of course choose to lodge your applications directly with the Principal Registry in Belfast in the Royal Courts of Justice in the first instance.
It is also important to note that
- The historical “Probate Calendar Volumes” located in Londonderry Courthouse will remain there, should anyone wish to inspect them.
- Although the above also applies to documentation lodged by personal applicants, the facility for personal applicants to swear their papers in Londonderry Courthouse will remain.
Probate Business Categories
- Applications for Grant
- Applications to Master
- Caveats, Warnings, Appearances, Citations
- Contentious Probate (Writs)
- Civil Partnership Act 2004 - in respect of deaths on or after 5 December 2005
- IHT205(2006) Return of Estate Information - new version of form to be used for deaths on or after 1 September 2006
- Probate business transferred change of probate document headings - with effect from 16 January 2009
Non-Contentious Probate Rules - Order 97
- Refer to Order 97 in "Rules of the Supreme Court (Northern Ireland) 1980''
- Rule 18 - Order of priority for a grant where the deceased left a will
- Rule 20 - Order of priority for a grant in a case of intestacy
- Oath for Administrator Intestate - examples of entitlement wording
Contentious Probate Rules - Order 76
Practice Directions and Practice Guidance Notes
- Points in Practice Practice Note 4/2007
- Preparation of Affidavits and Exhibits Practice Direction 5/2005
- Engrossments of Wills and Codicils Practice Note 4/2006
- Oaths for Grants and Inheritance Tax Accounts Practice Note 3/2006
- Unique Solicitor's Reference (Practice Direction 9/2006
- Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Practice Note 1/2007
- Transfer of Probate Business to Chancery Division Practice Direction 1/2009
- Applications for Grants: Lodgment of Copy Wills Practice Direction 4/2009
- “Probate Practice Notes” by Margaret Aiken - published 1981(out of print)
- “Succession Law in Northern Ireland” by Sheena Grattan - published 1996
- “Tristram & Coote’s Probate Practice” by J Winegarten, R D’Costa & T Synak - 30th edition published 2008
The Probate Office will not provide the personal appointment service if the application relates to second or subsequent grants in a deceased person’s estate. If you are seeking to make such an application, you must instruct a Solicitor in this jurisdiction.
- Dealing with a deceased person's estate - an information booklet for personal applicants
- Temporary Procedures during Covid-19 Pandemic
- Executor's Rights Reservation Form
HM Revenue and Customs IHT Forms
- Tax form IHT205 for an excepted estate
- Tax form IHT400 - Inheritance Tax account - additional Schedules in the IHT400 series may be needed
- Tax form IHT421 - Probate Summary
Probate and IHT Helpline - 0300 123 1072
Website Probate and IHT
PO Box 38
Castle Meadow Road
Probate searches can be conducted via our Online Services page: Online Services. A hard copy form can also be found in the 'Useful Forms' section below.
- Caveat Form 4
- Warning to Caveator Form 5
- Appearance to Warning Form 6
- Document Requisition Form
- Probate Search Form
Probate in other Jurisdictions
- England and Wales - HM Courts Service
- Probate Registries in England and Wales
- Scotland (Confirmation) – Scottish Courts
- Republic of Ireland – Courts Service
Probate Registry Locations
Probate Office, 2nd Floor, Royal Courts of Justice, Chichester Street, Belfast
How to Contact the Probate Office
Tel: Belfast - 0300 200 7812 Londonderry - 0300 200 7812