Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Post-1996 English and Welsh probate records database online

The Probate Service for England and Wales has added a searchable database online for post-1996 wills and grants of probate, to complement its soldiers wills offerings already available. The database is at https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/#wills.

There is a basic search facility (surname and year of death) and an advanced search capability (surname, first name, year, month and date of death, year, month and date of probate). If an entry is found from the search a full copy will cost £10 to access.

It's useful if you have to find an English or Welsh will - but be warned, it is the blandest looking website I have ever seen, a proper government issue, austerity inspired, let's-not-waste-money-on-any-paint, soul destroying affair... :)

(With thanks to @GeoffatGSGS and @CensusDetective)

UPDATE: Thanks to Jane Taubman for getting in touch to say that in emailing the service operators with some thoughts, they replied to her with the following added gem: "The service will eventually include all records dating back to 1858 within the coming months"


Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks


  1. Having just done a search I would agree Chris, it is soul destroying. The facility to add a forename would have been helpful and I wasn't even searching for a "common name" - imagine searching for Smith - woeful!

  2. The Advanced tab does allow a forename to be added (third field down - bizarrely the forename and surname fields are separated with a year of death field in between!), but you also have to put in the year - so if you don't know when someone died, you'll have to make a few attempts at it!

  3. Yes its very basic, but its more designed for ordering copies of the Wills not for family history research and to be honest, it probably is better for privacy that the location and value of the estates are not readily available. I hope they don't change this.