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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 Index which indexes all wills and letters of administration proved in England and Wales from 1858 to the present day. The index can be viewed at the Principal Registry Office (see below) and at other registries and sub-registries (key in probate in the court work type search to find local registry office)

Copies of the grant of probate together with the associated will can be obtained in person from the Principal Registry Office (see below) or from a local Registry Office (key in probate in the court work type search to find local registry office). Alternatively they can be obtained through the post from the Postal Searches Office (see below)

  Addresses Principal Registry Office:
    Probate Department
Principal Registry of the Family Division
First Avenue House
42-49 High Holborn
    Postal Searches Office:
    The Postal Searches and Copies Department
The Probate Registry
Castle Chambers
Clifford Street
  Telephone Principal Registry Office: (020) 7947 7000
    Postal Searches Office: (01904) 666777 for general enquiries only - search requests must be submitted by post
  Fax Postal Searches Office: (01904) 666776
  Hours Principal Registry Office:
    Mon 10:00 - 4:30
    Tue 10:00 - 4:30
    Wed 10:00 - 4:30
    Thu 10:00 - 4:30
    Fri 10:00 - 4:30
    Sat Closed
    Sun Closed
  Search Services

The standard fee for searching for the will of a named deceased is £5. 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 £3 for each 4 year extension

  Web Site Home Page of the wills and probate section of the Court Service
    Search Services - a guide to the will search service provided by the Probate Registry and the fees involved
    Directions - street map provided by showing the location of the Principal Registry Office
This page last updated: 24 November 2006