13 April 2022
Probate Practice Update
1. Applications to Admit Copies of Wills
Members are asked to note that when making an application
for an order admitting to proof a will contained in a copy or otherwise, pursuant
to Order 97 Rule 53, the application should include evidence that the applicant
has put on notice any interested parties who might benefit in the event of an intestacy
or be otherwise prejudiced by the resulting Grant.
This procedural requirement applies in all such cases
where the original will is not available, including those where it is
understood that the original will has been lost.
Where the applicant fails to give notice or to include
evidence of notice being given with their application, their application will
typically not proceed and require to be adjourned.
Members are further referred to Order 97, Rule 53 of
the Rules of the Court of Judicature (NI) 1980 in this regard. The Rules are
available from Department of Justice website,https://www.justice-ni.gov.uk/publications/court-rules-publications, or by clicking here.
2. Practice Note 2021/1 on
Fees for Solicitor Executors
Members are reminded of Practice Note 2021/1 issued by
the Society’s Non Contentious Business Committee.
Practice Note 2021/1 provides guidance for members in
relation to the issue of the charging and agreement of professional fees by a solicitor
in an estate where that solicitor is also acting as the sole executor (therein
called the “Solicitor-Executor”).
guidance sets out actions to be taken by a Solicitor-Executor in every case.
It also includes
additional considerations that arise in the event that the Solicitor-Executor
is aware or ought reasonably to be aware that any residuary beneficiary is a
vulnerable person and/or may be unaware of appropriate charging rates.
Practice Note 2021/1 can be
accessed by logging into the members section of the Society’s website and
The guidance extends to all estates where a Solicitor-Executor
has control as executor and includes estates where more than one solicitor or principal
in a solicitor’s practice is appointed as an executor regardless of the
business structure of the practice or if the Solicitor-Executor is a trustee company
owned or controlled by such a solicitor or solicitor’s practice.
Members should note that the Society will consider
whether a solicitor has complied with the guidance in any relevant matter
before the Society concerning the professional practice or conduct of a
Probate Practice Direction (2021)
Members are reminded of Probate Practice Direction 3/2021
which consolidates and updates the Probate Practice Directions and Practice
Guidance Notes with effect from 1st November 2021.
It also addresses applications for grants made using
the NI Direct online portal at Probate
Probate Practice Direction 3/2021 can be accessed online at -