Probate records are kept by the Government in England and Wales and you can search for them online at the gov.uk website. The records can vary but will usually include the will and the Grant of Representation. The will is the document that a person creates while living with directions as to what should happen to their estate after death. The Grant of Representation is the legal document obtained by the executor of a will which gives them the legal authority to administer the deceased parson’s estate.
You can search online for the probate records of anyone who died on or after 158 and records for people who recently died should appear online about a fortnight after the Grant of Representation being confirmed by the Probate Registry. This is called a General Search and you can order one copy of the Grant and one of the will for £10 with additional copies of each available for 50p per copy.
You can also search for a probate record by post at a cost of £10 per search. To do this you need a Government form, PA1S which can be downloaded from the gov.uk website. You should get a response to your search query within four weeks.
The simple form asks for the surname and forenames of the deceased plus any alternative spellings, the address, date of death and any details you know about the type and date of probate granted, and where it was issued.
You can ask for a six-month Standing Search which means that the details you are searching for will continue to be looked for until Grant of Representation is issued by the Probate Registry to the executor of the will. A Standing Search will continue for a period of six months from the date you request it. The details you give will be included in a database and if probate records that appear match those details you will be forwarded that information.
In order to increase your chances of getting the information you want, it is crucial to give accurate details such as name and address and date of death. If the search comes up positive within the six month period, you will be entitles to a copy of the will and the Grant of Representation.
The sort of information that you can expect to obtain includes:
– date the will was signed
– name, address and occupation of the deceased
– family details such as married status and numbers of children
– details of property
– date of death