The Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunal Service (NICTS) has launched a new Probate Portal to simplify applications for dealing with a person’s estate after their death.
It is available through the nidirect website, providing an online process for those applying for a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration.
The service is the first to be redesigned under the NICTS modernisation programme, and has been developed by the Department of Finance’s Enterprise Digital Development team in conjunction with NICTS’s modernisation team, probate staff and service users.
Justice Minister Naomi Long said: “The new online Probate Portal very much embodies what we are trying to achieve with the modernisation of our courts and tribunals services.
“The process for applying for a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration has always been paper based since it was launched 163 years ago, but as technology evolves there is an expectation that more and more public services will be available online, including those provided by our courts and tribunals.
“The portal has been developed in consultation with citizens and with legal practitioners with the aim of making the process of applying for probate simpler and less time consuming.
“This courts and tribunals modernisation pilot project will be reviewed and evaluated to inform future services as NICTS develops modern, innovative and collaborative courts and tribunals services that are less complex, more efficient and more accessible.”
Statement of truth
Key features of the portal include the ability to complete a probate application, pay fees, upload supporting documents and track progress of an application. It also automatically populates a statement of truth as part of the process.
The launch of the portal has been supported by legislative changes to replace the swearing of an oath with the signing of a statement of truth.
NICTS said the project is also providing a pilot for its modernisation team in developing other service.