Probate

Here you will find information to some of the key information sources & forms needed during the preparation of documents for probate business in Northern Ireland.

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.

Introduction

Probate Business Categories

Use this link to view the following documents;  

  • Applications for Grant
  • Applications to Master
  • Caveats, Warnings, Appearances, Citations
  • Contentious Probate (Writs)

Important Changes

Use this link to view the following documents;

  • 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 fees changed with effect from 24 September 2007
  • Probate business transferred change of probate document headings - with effect from 16 January 2009

Non-Contentious Probate Rules - Order 97

Use this link to view the following documents;

  • 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

Use this link to view the following directions and 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 Textbooks

  • “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

Probate Fees

Use this link to view notes of Probate fees in regards to the following;

  • Non-Contentious Probate Fees Order 2017
  • One-page reference sheet for probate fees 
  • Supreme Court Fees Amendment Order 2017

Personal Applications

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.

Use this link to view the following forms;

  • Dealing with a deceased person's estate - an information booklet for personal applicants
  • Appointment Request Form
  • Executor's Rights Reservation Form

HM Revenue and Customs IHT Forms

The below HM Revenue and Customs forms can be viewed here;

  • 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

HMRC IHT
Ferrers House
PO Box 38
Castle Meadow Road
Nottingham
NG2 1BB

Probate Searches

Probate searches can be conducted via our Online Services page. A hard copy form can also be found in the 'Useful Forms' section below. 

Useful Forms

Use this link to view the following forms; 

  • Caveat Form 4 
  • Warning to Caveator Form 5
  • Appearance to Warning Form 6
  • Document Requisition Form
  • Probate Search Form

Probate in other Jurisdictions

Probate Registry Locations

Probate Office, 2nd Floor, Royal Courts of Justice, Chichester Street, Belfast

How to Contact the Probate Office

Tel: Belfast - 028 9072 4678  Londonderry - 028 7126 1832
Fax: Belfast - 028 9023 5186
Email: probate@courtsni.gov.uk

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