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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 (for the years 1861 right through to 1941, the National Probate Calendar can now be viewed online)

The complete index can only be viewed at the Principal Registry Office (see below). However, most local District Probate Registries (see below) have indexes covering at least the last fifty years.

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 standard fee for searching for the will of a named deceased is £6 - this covers a 4 year search period and includes a single copy of the grant of probate together with the will (if any) - extending the search period costs an additional £4 for each 4 year extension
  Copy Fees £6 for single copy of grant of probate together with the will (if any)
  Application download the PDF document Application for Probate Search 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
    BUT NOTE
    to search probate calendars you will need to visit Court 38, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
  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 - note that the opening hours for the London Probate search facility at Court 38, Royal Courts of Justice are 9 to 1 and 2 to 4
  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
  Self Search the London Probate search facility at Court 38 within the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand is the only place where members of the public can search the complete National Probate Index dating right back to 1858
  Copy Fees £6 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
  Self Search if you intend to visit a local registry office to search its probate indexes you are strongly recommended to contact the registry office beforehand to check what is available (note the Principal Registry Office is the only place where members of the public can search the complete National Probate Index )
  Copy Fees £6 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
   
  COURT SERVICES WEB SITE
  Access Home Page of the wills and probate section of the Court Service's vast website
  Useful Pages
   
   
 
This page last updated: 29 December 2013