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PROBATE REGISTRY
   
 
OVERVIEW
 

Since 11 January 1858 the jurisdiction of proving wills in England and Wales has been the responsibility of the state (before then wills were proved in the ecclesiastical courts of the Anglican Church).

The Probate Registry within the Court Service maintains a National Probate Calendar which indexes all wills and letters of administration proved in England and Wales from 1858 to the present day:

  • The full set of indexes from 1858 to the present day can now be searched online at the Probate Registry website by surname and year of death - once you've found your match you can view the original printed image - this usually provides the deceased's name, date of death, place where the deceased lived, the name of the executor (who is often another member of the family) and the value of the estate - armed with all these details you will be able to obtain a copy of the will far quicker from the Probate Registry than would otherwise be the case (see below)
  • The indexes from 1858 to 1966 can also be searched online at ancestry.co.uk - the search facility at this site is more comprehensive than that at the Probate Registry website, allowing you to search by first name, surname, date of death and county of death
  • The indexes for 1858 to 1959 can also be searched at FindMy Past  - like ancestry.co.uk, the search facility is more comprehensive than that at the Probate Registry website allowing for searches to be conducted by year range for date of death, first letter of surname and two freeform keywords

Copies of the grant of probate together with the associated will (if any) can be obtained in person from the Principal Registry Office (see below), from a local registry office (see below) or through the post from the Postal Searches Office (see below)

   
  POSTAL SEARCHES OFFICE
  Address The Postal Searches and Copies Department, Leeds District Probate Registry, York House, York Place, Leeds LS1 2BA
  Telephone Search/copy requests must be submitted by post - please note that this department is not contactable by telephone and can only answer written enquiries.
  Search Fees the fee for searching for the will of a named deceased is £10 - this includes a single copy of the grant of probate together with the will (if any)
  Application download the PA1S order form from the Court Service's website
  Response Time the Probate Service aims to supply copies of the grant of probate together with the will (if any) within 21 working days of your application
   
  PRINCIPAL REGISTRY OFFICE
  Address Probate Department, Principal Registry of the Family Division, First Avenue House, 42-49 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6NP
  Telephone Helpline: 0845 3020900 - see Principal Registry Office's web page for other telephone numbers
  Opening Hours see the Principal Registry Office's web page within the Court Service's website
  Directions see the street map within the Court Service's website - the location of the Principal Registry Office is also shown on this website's Central London Archives Map
  Copy Fees £10 for single copy of grant of probate together with the will (if any)
  Response Time in some cases you may be able to obtain a copy of the grant of probate and associated will 'on the spot' - otherwise the Probate Service aims to supply copies of the grant of probate together with the will (if any) within 21 working days of your application
   
  LOCAL REGISTRY OFFICES
  District Offices Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Ipswich, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Winchester
  Sub-Registries Bodmin, Caernarfon, Carlise, Carmarthen, Exeter, Gloucester, Lancaster, Leicester, Lincoln, Maidstone, Middlesborough, Norwich, Nottingham, Peterborough, Sheffield, Stoke-on-Trent, York
  Contact for telephone numbers, opening hours and addresses click above on the office you wish to visit
  Copy Fees £10 for single copy of grant of probate together with the will (if any)
  Response Time in some cases you may be able to obtain a copy of the grant of probate and associated will 'on the spot' - otherwise the Probate Service aims to supply copies of the grant of probate together with the will (if any) within 21 working days of your application
   
   
   
 
This page last updated: 27 April 2016