The president of the Family Division spoke last week about the modernisation of the probate process, saying that digital online probate is planned for early next year. Whilst modernisation is to be welcomed, should we be concerned at Sir James's comment that 'remember, the applicant will increasingly be a lay person bereft of professional assistance'?
Sir James said that, in the future, proceedings would begin in many cases with a lay person filling in a questionnaire. “The applicant – and remember, the applicant will increasingly be a lay person bereft of professional assistance – will not fill in an online application form but an online questionnaire capturing all the relevant information while at the same time being much more user-friendly. “Some processes will be almost entirely digitised: early examples will be digital online probate and digital online divorce, both planned for at least initial implementation early in 2017.