There has been a recent reform to the procedure of obtaining a Grant of Probate. As a client, you are no longer required to swear the oath. Previously, clients were required to swear the oath at the probate registry with a solicitor present – to make the process easier this has been replaced by the statement of truth. A statement of truth is designed to achieve the same outcome as swearing the oath, however the client is no longer required to complete this at the probate registry nor does it need to be signed or witnessed by a solicitor.
However, it is important that clients do not view this as ‘less than’ swearing the oath. It is still legally binding and it is highly important that the statement is entirely truthful. If a client is found to have lied in their statement of truth, they are deemed to be in contempt of court. This would be considered in the same way as lying under oath. Criminal proceedings for fraud can be brought against the client in the worst case.
The objective of introducing the statement of truth is not to take away from the validity of the statement, but simply to make the process easier for the client. It is still imperative that the statement be completely honest.