New probate rules, which allow personal applications to be made without the need to swear an oath come into force today (27 Nov 2018).
This means that unrepresented applicants will now simply need to provide a statement of truth when making an application for probate instead of swearing an oath in front of a solicitor or commissioner for oaths.
The aim of the changes is to simplify the probate rules, however, there are fears that the move could lead to a heightened risk of financial abuse and fraud by unscrupulous applicants.
To avoid opening up your estate to fraud, it is more essential than ever that you have a well-written will in place, appointing individuals that can be trusted to administer your estate and deal with the money according to your wishes.
It is also important to tell your family that you have made a will and to make sure they know who to contact when you pass away.
At Beswicks Legal, we register all wills with the National Will Register, which can be searched if you are unsure who holds the will of a loved one.
Making attempts to simplify the process of applying for probate may be laudable, however, I fear this move does increase the risk of fraud and I would strongly advise people to mitigate this risk by making sure they have a professionally drafted will appointing executors that they know and trust.