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Obtaining a copy of a will

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Jonesey Report 16 Aug 2010 13:44

Since Ancestry recently released this database detailing the probate calendars:

England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations),1861-1941

I have noticed a number of Genes Reunited members asking whether it is possible to obtain a copy of a will. The short answer is that yes it is and by today's standards it is both easy and relatively cheap (£6) to do so.

This site gives instructions about how and where to apply for a copy of a will or order of probate proven between 1858 and the present.

Jill 2011 (aka Warrior Princess of Cilla!)

Jill 2011 (aka Warrior Princess of Cilla!) Report 16 Aug 2010 13:48

I do hope people apply for a copy of the will itself.

I heard Tony Robinson on the radio the other day and it was a bit misleading as he explained that you could see the amount of money left and who it was left to ...

If people are not sure how wills work they might assume that the person named on the database as receiving the money is the sole beneficiary.

I love seeing the wills themselves - the amount of info and background I've found on most of the ones I have has been amazing.


Teresa With Irish Blood in Me Veins

Teresa With Irish Blood in Me Veins Report 16 Aug 2010 14:06

Found a lot of my ancestors and their relatives wills on England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations),1861-1941

So thanks to Jonsey and Jill.....I will have to get copies just to unravel a few unanswered questions!



Jonesey Report 16 Aug 2010 14:10

I agree entirely Jill.

Were it not for the copies of my 3x Great Grandparents wills that I got hold off I would never in a 1,000 years have discovered the full extent of their family or their 100's of descendants who are today scattered around the globe.

In one respect Tony Robinson's remarks were accurate in so far as the probate registry entry contains a rough value of the estate whereas a copy of a will usually does not. Whilst the names mentioned on the probate record might be beneficiaries they are equally, if not more likely, simply to be the executors of the estate.


Madmeg Report 16 Aug 2010 20:38

I am not good at understanding written instructions (my husband will concur!) - give me a page full of numbers any day.

So, Jonesey, I have found a will on Ancestry, proved at Chester - can I order it from any of the listed offices (as it implies?). And send a cheque.

Are there no facilities to order online?

Thanks pal.



Jonesey Report 16 Aug 2010 22:00


I may be wrong but I do not think that there are any online ordering facilities. As far as I am aware a copy will can be ordered from any of the offices. I have certainly ordered wills from the Birmingham office where the will itself has been of someone who lived and died in Wales. I always send a cheque with my request.


lancashireAnn Report 16 Aug 2010 22:07

As far as I am aware Margaret no wills proved at Chester are on line and the York sub registry only accepts postal applications. If it was before 1858 I can look up the main details next time I go to Lancs record office as they are held there. After 1858 they only have Liverpool & Lancaster. Not the same as having the whole will (and possibly a list of possessions) but it depends on just what you are after.

I agree you can find some amazing things in wills. One I had listed all the people living in his village (not many admittedly) one of whom was a brother I know nothing about.

Welsh wills pre 1858 are on-line at the National Library of Wales site


Madmeg Report 16 Aug 2010 22:27

Thanks Jonesey and Ann. York is not one of the listed addresses, but I have ordered from York in the past. The wills I found are 1887 and 1889. I will order from Manchester.

Steven de Grussa from Oz.

Steven de Grussa from Oz. Report 17 Aug 2010 04:06

I have been contacted them last weekend but still have not heard from them.

I want to ensure how much to pay a will before sending a cheque to them. I know that there were my two ggg grandfathers’ names of a will and date of death/probate.

Is £5 for a will for all pages? Is it included a postage?




Jonesey Report 17 Aug 2010 08:21


The £5 fee covers all pages of the will. In the UK it also covers postage but I am not sure whether it will include postage to an overseas address. It might however as when ordering a BMD certificate from the GRO the fee there covers postage to any address.


InspectorGreenPen Report 17 Aug 2010 08:32

Fees: When returning the completed application to the Postal Searches and Copies Department in York, please also
enclose the fee of £5.00. Each extra copy of the same document ordered at the same time will attract an additional
fee of £1.00. Cheques or Postal Orders should be crossed and made payable to ‘HM Courts Service’. Fees from
abroad should be paid by International Money Order, cheque or draft, payable through a United Kingdom bank, and
must be made out in £ sterling. We are currently unable to accept payments by credit or debit card, nor are we able to
receive search requests by telephone. Please contact the Postal Searches and Copies Department for details of fees
for special copies (for instance if you are administering estate abroad), and mark your application accordingly.


LindaB Report 17 Aug 2010 12:22

Many thanks Jonesey for the link...I have found quite a few which I would like to order.

Cheshire Records Office do have a facility where you can search and order online..

Each will costs £3.50 plus postage. I have ordered 3 online in the past and received them within the week.



Joan Report 17 Aug 2010 13:51

Bookmarking this thread Thank you
Joan x

Steven de Grussa from Oz.

Steven de Grussa from Oz. Report 19 Aug 2010 03:14

Jonesey, thanks for your advise. I will buy the two wills this week.

Cheers, Steven.


InspectorGreenPen Report 19 Aug 2010 18:23

What level of Ancestry subscription do you need to search the Wills Index?


LindaB Report 20 Aug 2010 02:14

You have to have the Premium subscription IGP.


Lady Cutie

Lady Cutie Report 20 Aug 2010 18:49

I have found one of my relatives on Ancestry
Ernest Pope of (address)....died on 26 Jan 1906
probate London 23 Feb to Emily and Arthur Pope the sum of £38 .3shillings ..
i have been on the site that Jonesey put on here but i cant find where the form is to fill in can anyone help please ... ..thanks

Jill 2011 (aka Warrior Princess of Cilla!)

Jill 2011 (aka Warrior Princess of Cilla!) Report 20 Aug 2010 20:23


You can just write to the Probate Registry. Give them the details of the deceased, date of death and date of probate - and where probate was granted.


Lady Cutie

Lady Cutie Report 20 Aug 2010 22:11

Thank you Jill ..


Jonesey Report 22 Aug 2010 13:03