When a person dies someone has to deal with their estate. A legal document called a 'Grant of Representation' is normally required in order to establish who is legally entitled to deal with the deceased’s assets. When an application for probate is made, any will that the person left must be submitted to the Probate Registry. The Will, if valid, is thereafter kept on file as a public record.
There are three main types of 'Grant of Representation':
Issued to one or more executors named in the Will (in this case a copy of the Will and Grant of Probate will be supplied)
Letters of Administration (with Will)
Issued when there is a Will but the executors named in the Will are no longer able or willing to apply for a 'Grant of Representation' (in this case a copy of the Will and Grant of Administration can be supplied)
Letters of Administration
Issued when no Will has been made or if the Will is invalid (in this case a copy of the Grant only can be supplied)
In all cases, where a 'Grant' has been issued, we will supply a copy of any available record.
The grant will always show the name, date of death and the last address of the deceased. The name and address of the person(s) to whom the estate was administered and the total 'gross' and 'net' value of the estate (as supplied by the applicant).
A 'Grant of Representation' will only show the name and address of a solicitor, when a solicitor acted for the purpose of obtaining the grant.
Estate accounts are not included as part of a probate record, nor is an inventory of the deceased financial assets or belongings. We cannot supply this information as it is not made available as a 'public record'.
A deed of variation is not included, as it is made after probate has been granted.
Not in all cases.
A Grant of Representation may not be required, when for example:
- The value of the estate is small and an asset holder agrees to release assets without the need for a grant. This is normal if the value of the estate adds up to less than £5000 (current valuation).
- A property is held in joint names and is passing by survivorship to the other joint owner.
- A joint bank or building society account is held; production of a death certificate may be sufficient evidence for the monies to be transferred to the other joint holder.
- An entitled person has power of attorney for the deceased’s financial affairs.
The only certain way to tell if a grant has been issued is to place an order and request a search to be made.
There is no time limit. This depends on how quickly the deceased's personal representative applies for probate. Prior to a probate application being made, the deceased's representative firstly needs to ascertain and value the deceased's assets. This can be a time consuming process depending on the size of the estate. Once an application has been submitted, a grant is normally issued within four to six weeks. From our experience, probate is normally granted within four to twelve months from date of death. Only after probate has been granted can we supply a record.
When an order is placed relating to a recently deceased person i.e who passed away within the past six months. We offer to continue to make a regular search for a further six month period at no additional charge. Our terms & conditions apply.
If no entry is listed at the time of our search or no trace can be found (based on the information provided) we retain a search/administration fee of £10.00. This fee covers the cost of administering and processing payment transactions and the time taken for the search. An immediate part refund of any outstanding balance is then made according to the payment method used to place the order. We will advise that a part refund has been made along with our search report. An exception to this refund, is if the deceased passed away recently and you require us to continue to make a regular search (see above).
Yes. We are professional researchers and will do our best to identify a matching entry. The minimum amount of information that we do require is the name of the deceased, an approximate year of death and/or the last known area of residence. Provision is made on our 'online' order form for an approximate year of death to be stated within a five year period and for any additional information to be supplied. Further information is given on our ordering instructions page.
Unfortunately, no. Our service only covers a copy of a will that has been submitted to a probate registry (within England or Wales) for the purpose of obtaining a grant of probate. There is no central register of Wills which have been made, only of Wills which have been probated. Most Wills are kept at home with personal papers, or with a relative/friend, bank/building society or solicitor. Independent, services do exist for the purpose of tracing the whereabouts of a missing Will or the Solicitor who drew up the Will. Please see our 'useful links' for examples of this type of service.
Yes. We make a search of the probate registers held at the 'Central Probate Registry' in London. The probate registers are 100% complete and up to date on the day of the search and cover all probate registrations for the whole of England or Wales 1858 to date. This facility is open to the general public between 9am and 4pm. It should be noted that documents cannot be obtained on the 'same day' and a return visit would be required in person for the purpose of collecting any available probate documents. The address of the Central Probate registry is: Court 38, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London. WC2A 2LL.
Please note: we are an independent company and are not in any way associated with the 'Probate Service' or the address given above. We are therefore unable to advise or answer any questions relating to a personal visit or orders placed at the Central Probate Registry.
We are a small company, offering a fast and professional service. For this reason our service only covers records that we can obtain in person on behalf of our customers. Being based in London, this is restricted to records held via the Central Probate Registry and covers the whole of England and Wales. Contact information for probate registries in other areas of the British Isle can be found via our 'useful links'.
We pride ourselves on providing an efficient and professional service. Here are a few genuine comments from satisfied customers
“I am totally impressed with your attention and service.Thank you.” John B. - Sussex
“Thank you for your prompt and efficient service (for this and my previous order). If you ever need a testimonial for your website, I'm happy to provide one.” Stephen F. - London
“I have today, received a copy of my grandmother's will.The quality and efficiency of your service is extraordinary. With my sincere thanks.” Suzanne C. - Buckinghamshire
“Thank you for your excellent service – copy of will received yesterday.” Stewart H. - Redditch
“Hi, With many thanks for your email - this is fantastic news.
Thank you so much for letting me know and I very much look forward to receiving a copy of the Will in due course. You offer an absolutely fabulous service - thank you.” Michelle N. - Cambridgeshire
"Thanks so much - we are amazed at the speed of service. And as well, it was the result we were looking for!" Truda N. - Australia
"Thanks very much for your kind advice, and I will pass the word on regarding your companies very efficient and quick response/delivery to my query." Karen P. - Manchester
"Wonderful, many thanks!! So happy I came across your website. In case you ever need something from my side of the world please let me know!" Ruzica J. - Australia
"Thank you for the excellent service that you have offered; I have been most impressed. I shall be placing an order for a copy of the will on the internet." Carole S. - Lincolnshire
"I refer to the above order. I should like to thank you for your prompt attention to my request for a copy Will. It was much appreciated." Ann B. - Argyll, Scotland
"Thank you for your help and very professional services. I will have no hesitation in recommending you to others." Patricia S. - Jersey, Channel Islands
"Thank you for your reply. It is very much appreciated. Hopefully I can progress with this information. Please pass on my thanks to the employee." Carolyn S. - Queensland, Australia
"Thankyou so very much for all your hard work and help, and for emailing me the will." Shelley S. - Guildford, Surrey
"I wish to thank you for your excellent service and prompt reply. Please be assured I will praise your company to other people. Many thanks." Janet G. - Essex
"Thank you for sending on the above will now safely received. Thank you for your prompt attention." Patricia C. - W.Yorkshire
"Thank you so much for your swift reply. Also thankyou for the refund. I am impressed with the service you have." J. B. - Maldon, Essex
"Thank you very much for this most helpful reply, which I appreciate. I shall hope to retain your services when we bring our family wills record up to date!" Colin S. - Hong Kong
"Thankyou SO much for your help and info which may make it easier to find the Will I am looking for - having proved who we are in relation to the deceased I am waiting in hope that they will see fit in releasing more details to me. Once again thank you for your interest and please be confident I would recommend your services to others needing similar help." Lynda B. - Kent
"Thank-you for your prompt service in supplying a copy of my late father's will.It arrived in the post this morning." Stuart C. - Lincolnshire
"Thanks guys great service, …………….Tauranga N Z, document received 3 days ago!" Paul B. - New Zealand
"Thank you for your prompt and courteous response to my email, I very much appreciate your assistance in this matter." Terry T. - Cheshire
"Thank you very much for all your hard work.I am looking forward to receiving a copy of my great grandfathers will. Thanks for your prompt attention." Beryl P. - Liverpool
"Thank you so much for the copy of will I asked you for. I received it today and have passed it on to the lady that requested it. Thank you for your speedy service." Angela B. - Surrey
"Many thanks for your prompt and fantastic service – so very much appreciated." Jenny L. - South Africa
"I am grateful to you for trying to help further. I will have no hesitation in using your service again, should the need arise." Evelyn E. - Surrey
"I am now in possession of …………………Will, ( copy ) it arrived today. I just want to thank you so much for all your help." Suzanne B. - London
"Thank you so much for all your help. I have just ordered a copy, once again thank you very much for all your time and effort." Ken C. - Devon
"Will received thank you. And thank you for a great service." Diane M. - Lancashire
"Will and probate certificate recieved today many thanks for your prompt service." John L. - Norfolk
"I recently applied for a copy of two wills, and within a few days they had arrived. Well done ! An excellent, efficient service." Marian S. - London
"Many thanks for your splendid service. It couldn't of have been better. You have given me the documents about 3 days before the deadline we commented!" Noel T. - Spain
"Once again many thanks for your great service.I will recommend it to all my friends." Gloria M. - Hertfordshire
"Copy of the will has been received and is definitely that of my great great maternal grandfather (which has added some valuable info to our Family History research). Many thanks for your help." Julie H. - Somerset
"Many, many thanks for your help & assistance. Please note my daughter's comment below. One of the many, many reasons we are losing our professional people."........... "You don’t get service like this in our own country!!??" Sharon B. - South Africa
"Very many thanks for your excellent service you really do have an excellent service ethos. Thank you for those links. That was very kind of you." Robert T. - Jersey
"I have now received the copy documents I ordered. I just wanted to say a big thankyou for your note confirming that the refund would still stand, in spite of the fact that you were unable to cancel the order" I have been very impressed by the prompt and courteous treatment I have received from your organisation. Any chance you could take over the training of the……….. " Janice D. - Greece
"Thank you for your speedy response, both wills have arrived safely. Fantastic!" Jill O. - Oxfordshire
"Thank you so much for sending me the Will of …………….which arrived this morning. Another new can of worms!! This helps with our family history enormously. I am most grateful to you and your colleagues for such a prompt service. Many thanks once again." Sheila B. - Cornwall
"What a wonderful service this is - I can’t imagine why I didn’t try the internet before. Thank you for all your help." Patricia H. - Guildford, Surrey
"I thought I would just drop you a quick e-mail to express my appreciation for your assistance. I had not heard of UK Documents prior to asking you to source the information, and it can be somewhat of a lottery when appointing a company through the internet and without a personal recommendation. However I have been impressed with the speed of your turnaround and quality of service, and I will have no hesitation in recommending you to friends or family in future." Andy C. - New Zealand
“Thank you for your excellent service – copy of will received yesterday.” S.W.H. - Redditch
“Thank you for your prompt and efficient service (for this and my previous order). If you ever need a testimonial for your website, I'm happy to provide one. Stephen F. - London
“I am totally impressed with your attention and service. Thank you.” John B. - Dorset
“Many thanks - great service ! I would recommend your Company without hesitation.” Angela T. - Milton Keynes
“Today i have received the copy of my uncles will ,which we requested, thanking you very much for the service.” Joan B. - Harrogate
“Thank you so much for your research, you are a genius! I'll order the Will and Grant of Probate today.” Deborah W. - Lancaster
“Brilliant service, highly recommend you.” Julia J. - Cornwall
“Just wanted to drop you a line to say thanks. Knowing the will has not been probated helps. Excellent service and very reasonable fees - especially getting a refund as no documents are available. Much appreciated.” Charlotte T. - Devon
“Received your information this morning, many thanks for your professional and courteous manner in dealing with this problem.” Malcolm L. - Radstock
“Thank you for your help. I have contacted the solicitors and they are going to get back to me. What excellent customer service.Thank you once again.” Jean J. - England
“Thank you for your speedy response. I will definitely be using your services in the future.”
Simon S. - Australia
“Many thanks for a job well done, I am delighted to get the Probate document so promptly.” L. S. - Nottingham
“Thank you for your help and such a prompt and efficient service. Being able to have these documents have very much helped me prepare for a meeting tomorrow.
With thanks.” Mariam S. - Exeter
“Thank you for the scanned copy. I also received the Certified copy in the post yesterday.
Your service was excellent and I shall use you again in connection with my family tree that I am doing.”
Jill B. - Ashford
“Thank you so much for your patience and it's so kind of you to waive extra charges. You certainly provide an excellent service.” Gordon. C. - Guildford
“Thank you so much for all of your help. I can't tell you how much it has meant to me.
Warm regards.” Wendy F. - Norfolk
“Thank you very much for your consistently prompt and efficient service over the last year.” Mike G. - Southampton
“Many thanks for taking so much trouble and for your courteous reply. I also appreciate that you have refunded the charge.” David M. - Torquay
“Thank you so much for all your advice and help. I appreciate that you have gone way and beyond and this is so helpful, this is a whole new world for us and is quite tricky. Have a nice weekend. Many Thanks.” Claudine T. - Australia
“I have just received back the will of Ella Burton and would like to thank you for the transcription. There is quite a lot more which I was unable to decipher myself which is very helpful and has given me a few other ideas for investigation. Many thanks again, for your brilliant service! Best wishes. Wendy S. - Colchester
“I am astonished. And am left asking why, as a biographer and journalist, I never come across your service before. Up till now there have only been frustrating, time-consuming and costly trips to Holborn; thank heavens all now a thing of the past. Can't access your attachment until I get home, but I know this is the future. (Another way of saying thank you for your lightning response). Best wishes, Christopher W. - Sussex
“Thank you very much for emailing a copy of Mrs. .......... Will. It is very kind of you to get it to me so quickly and I appreciate your excellent service. Patricia W. - Glasgow
‘I am thrilled that yo have found both Charles Gordon and George Mansfield. I a going to order the documents straight away. Thank you so very, very much.” Kathy
Well here is my feedback : "Probaterecords.co.uk addressed my enquiry in a very professional and timely manner, exceeding my expectations, delivering what was promised the very next day "Please feel free to add my name to the website.” Dominic Van Spall - London
“Many thanks for the efficient way you dealt with my queries and I will have no hesitation in using your services again should the need arise.” Marilyn W. - England
“Many thanks, as always very impressed with your service.” Neil S. - Taunton
Important: An automated email to confirm your order will be sent to you immediately after your order has been placed. If no confirmation email has been received, first check in your Spam folder (if you have one)then contact us if necessary.
If you are ordering from the USA or Canada please use the correct two letter state code in the field marked County or City.
If you are ordering from Ireland please use 000000 in the field marked Post Code
If you are having difficulty proceeding to our payment page please ensure that all fields marked * are completed and that you have chosen a service level and delivery method.
Please ensure that you have ticked to accept our Terms and Conditions.
If you are having difficulty amending or adding information to the form, clear the form by clicking the 'Clear Form' button and start again.
Please ensure that the information supplied is as accurate as possible. We always conduct a second search using variables if no entry is found on our initial search. However, we do rely on the information supplied by the customer for the purpose of making a thorough search.
SURNAME OF DECEASED
Please state the last known surname. If the deceased was a married woman then this should be her last married surname. If the exact spelling of the surname is not known, please advise by adding a comment in the field for additional information.
FORENAME(S) OF DECEASED
In most cases the first and any middle names will be known. However, the deceased may have been known by a shortened version or by a nickname i.e. Dick for Richard, Peggy for Margaret etc.or a middle name may have been used as a first name. We do rely on the accuracy of the name(s) supplied and base our search on this information. However, if an entry cannot be found on our initial search we will endeavour to try to identify a correct entry by trying variables.
If the deceased's forename is not known and the only information available is an initial, we may still be able to help. This greatly depends on the popularity of the surname i.e. if the only available information is for a J. Smith who died in London in the year 2000 then we will definitely not be able to help, but if the information is for a Mr. J. Paxman who was last residing in Brighton, Sussex and who died in the year 2000, then we can.
DATE OF DEATH
The probate registers are arranged by year, according to when a Grant of Representation was issued (not by year of death or the year the Will was written). For this reason our search starts from the date of death and continues for a further five year period in the event that probate was granted some years later.
Please supply the exact date of death if known. If the exact day is not known, please supply the month and year only. If the exact day and month are not known, please supply the year only.
5 YEAR PERIOD TO SEARCH
If you only have an approximate year of death, please state up to a five year period starting with the earliest year i.e. 1989 - 1993. We will then make a search covering this period and continue for a further three year period in the event that a grant of probate was issued sometime after.
LAST KNOWN ADDRESS OR AREA
Please state the last full known address or area of residence. If this was a residential home or nursing home, please state the name, address and/or location of the home. If the deceased was in temporary accommodation (hospital) then please state the last permanent residential address. An alternative address can be stated in the field for additional information if required.
ANY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Please feel free to add any relevant information that you consider may help with our search. We do not require a year or date of birth because this information is not stated in the probate registers.
Probate Records - Our service for Family History 1858 - 1940
We want all of our customers to be happy with the service that we provide. Please read the following notes before placing an order.
Any document supplied via our 'family history service' is for reading/research purposes only i.e. it will not include the Court Seal for legal purposes.
The Probate Registry issue any available document as a scanned image of the original and in some cases the document may be difficult to read. This is normally due to the quality of the original document and/or italic handwriting. Please bear this in mind, as we are unable to obtain a better copy from any source other than the Probate Registry.
Information from probate records can provide vital pieces of genealogical information. However, it must be noted that the information contained varies considerably, we can therefore not guarantee that the information you are hoping to find will be included in any document issued.
How likely is it that a probate record will exist?
An entry relating to the deceased’s estate will only exist if a Grant of Probate or Grant of Administration was required for the purpose of administering the estate.
The main purpose for a grant being required is to give entitled persons (executors, next of kin etc.) the authority to deal with the assets and belongings of the deceased. It allows the money in banks, building societies etc. to be collected, property to be sold or transferred and debts to be paid. When an application for probate is made, any Will that the deceased person left must be submitted to the Probate Registry. The Will, if judged to be valid, is thereafter kept on file as a public record.
As a general guide and before you request a search please read the following information:
If the deceased owned residential property and/or held a bank account, owned shares or had business interests, then it is likely that a probate record will exist. This is because a grant would normally have been required for the purpose of liquidating these assets.
If the deceased held few real assets i.e., they did not own their own property or hold a bank account etc. then it is likely that their estate was administered without the formality of requiring a grant. In this instance no record would be available because the Probate Service would not have become involved in the administration of the estate, even if the deceased did make a Will.
Before the Married Women’s Property Act, 1882, married women could not make a Will in their own right – their property was deemed to be owned by their husband. As a result before 1882 only widows, spinsters and married women who had their property rights protected in a marriage settlement made Wills.
In some cases the only available document will be a Grant of Administration - issued when no Will has been made or if the Will is invalid. This is a brief document stating the name, date of death and the last address of the deceased and the name and address of the persons to whom the estate was administered, including the total gross and net value of the estate. We will automatically obtain this document if no Will is available. If you only require us to supply a probate record when an actual Will is available, then please state this clearly with your order. Our part refund policy will then apply if a copy of a Will is not available (see below).
If no entry is listed or no trace can be found (based on the information provided) we retain a search / administration fee of £10.00. This fee covers the cost of administering and processing payment transactions and the time taken for the search. An immediate part refund of any outstanding balance is then made according to the payment method used to place the order. We will advise that a part-refund has been made along with our search report.