Where there’s a will there’s a way: probate office open

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The processing of wills has been centralised in Belfast, the Justice Minister David Ford has confirmed, but the probate registry office in Londonderry remains open and applications can still be lodged there.

The Minister explained that the new arrangement has been brought in because it was viewed as more efficient by the powers that be.

He outlined the situation in response to an Assembly Question.

“The District Probate Registry Office in Londonderry Courthouse is not closing under new arrangements for the management of probate applications in Northern Ireland,” the Justice Minister said.

“From the September 30, 2015, the Principal Probate Registry Office in the Royal Courts of Justice assumed responsibility for the management and processing of all probate applications.

“Applications can still be lodged with the District Office, and personal applications can still be sworn by designated Probate Officers assigned to the Office,” he added.

Mr Ford said there were a number of options consider but centralisation at Chichester Street was the one that won out in the end.

“The Department considered three additional alternatives before reaching its decision: Do nothing; Centralise probate applications in the Principal Probate Registry Office in the Royal Courts of Justice and close the District Registry Office; and Centralise the management of probate applications in the Principal Probate Registry Office in the Royal Courts of Justice, retain the District Registry for the lodgement of probate documentation, and the swearing of personal applications.

“The new arrangements are considered to be more efficient and cost effective while retaining customer service provisions for Londonderry District Probate Registry customers,” said Mr Ford.

The new arrangements are already in place having officially taken effect at the start of last month.