About the Probate Service

Our Targets

Targets for issuing grants of representation

95% of solicitor, notary or barrister applications to be processed within 7 working days of receipt of all necessary information

85% of personal applications to be processed within one month of receipt of all necessary information

Our Workload

The Probate Service continues to receive a steady number of applications for grants of representation.


In 2010, 246 635 grants of representation were issued.

Of these, 88 443 (36%) were personal applications and 158 192 (64%) were made by solicitors, notaries or barristers.

Other Services

Copies of grants and wills

The Probate Service maintains an index of all grants of representation issued since 1858 (known as the Probate Calendar), and supplies copies of these grants and wills for a fee (currently £6 for one copy of the documents for each deceased person) upon request.

Standing search

It is possible to enter a standing search. A standing search is valid for six months, if a grant issues within that time against the name you have registered, you will automatically receive a copy of the grant and a copy of the will. The fee for this is currently £6.

Customer Service

Current developments

The Probate Service continues to work with other organisations to try to improve service to the customer:

  • The local Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths for copies of death certificates required for probate application.
  • • The Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs Trust and Estates team providing information on Inheritance Tax.

We have also established links with our local communities by working with local schools, and the following organisations:

Citizens Advice Bureaux,
Age Concern,
As well as local firms of funeral directors.

We work with local courts to raise awareness of the Probate Service at court open days and have established user groups in each Registry. We are working on revising the Non-contentious Probate Rules and looking at procedures in order to simplify the process for customers.

Further Help

Ways of getting more information about the Probate Service, and forms:

  • From the telephone helpline operated jointly with the Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs Trusts and Estates which provides information about inheritance tax and probate
  • Telephone: 0300 123 1072
HM Courts & Tribunals Service


Get email alerts
Find a form
Find a court form