In this guide we will show you how to look for your ancestors’ probate records and wills in England and Wales. These documents are available for people who died after 1857 and list a person’s ‘estate‘; their property, money and possessions.

If you’re looking for Probate records and wills from 1384-1858, please see this article.

Order Probate Records from GOV.UK

You can use GOV.UK‘s online service to search for a probate record in England and Wales, check the type of probate issued and order a copy of a probate record. This includes a will, if there is one.

Not all probate records contain a will. The grant types that contain a will include ‘Probate’ or ‘Grant and Will’, and ‘Admon with Will’ or ‘Grant and Will’. This means that ‘Administration (Admon) or Grant’ does not contain a will.

You can ask for a copy of a probate record for family history research, to administer an estate within or outside the UK, or a standing search.

How to Locate the Probate Record

It’s important to note that the records are stored under the year the grant was issued, rather than the year of death.

You can use the website’s search functionality to look for a person’s probate records. You’ll need to know the year of death, and the surname.

IMPORTANT: There are three tabs with different search boxes. The one on the left side is only for 1996 to present, the middle for 1858 to 1996 (this is the one you’ll most likely use) and the last for soldier’s wills. 

Search boxes to look for probate records at gov.uk
A screenshot of the search box to look for probate records at gov.uk (notice the three tabs).

How to Order the Probate Record Online

You can order copies of probate and wills, and each one costs £1.50.

If you used the search mentioned above, you might be able to obtain the documents online. Normally, you need to download and fill in form PA1S to search for a probate record by post and send it to the address listed on the form. You should get a response within 4 weeks.

The form requires more information than the online search, including the deceased person’s forenames and surname, alternative names, date of death and full address.

The address to send the form is:

The Postal Copies and Searches Department
District Probate Registry
York House
31 York Place
Leeds
LS1 2BA

Search for Probates and Wills in Scotland and Northern Ireland

The process is different in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Follow the links to learn more.

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