How to obtain copies of probate records
How do I find out whether a Grant has been taken and obtain a copy?
For a search to be made you should complete form PA1S (Application for a General Search) and enclose the fee. If you know the details of when the grant issued these can be entered on the form. Send the completed form to:
Postal Searches and Copies Department
Leeds District Probate Registry
Will anyone be informed of my request?
What information is required on form PA1S?
The full name (including any alternative names) the address and date of death of the person who has died
What does it cost?
The fee for the search and providing a copy is £6. If no record is found the fee is still payable. If you require additional copies of the same grant and will they are £1 each.
Payment should be made by cheque or postal order, payable to HM Courts & Tribunals Service.
If you are applying from outside the UK, payment should be made by international money order expressed in pounds sterling.
How long does a postal search take?
Please allow four weeks for a response. Please note the service is postal only and queries cannot be answered by telephone. If you have not received a response and four weeks have passed please write to Leeds District Probate Registry.
What information is available about the estate?
The grant will tell the gross and net value of the estate. No record is held by the Probate Registry as to what formed the estate or how it was administered.
What if I do not have the full information?
If you ask the Postal Searches and Copies Department to make the search for you, we will do our best with whatever information you can supply, but without at least the correct full name, and the year from which you want the search to begin it will not be possible to identify the correct record.
Can I go to a Probate Registry to search the records myself?
Yes, If you intend to visit a Registry specifically to search the records, you are recommended to contact the Registry beforehand to check what searching facilities are available and when these are available to the public.
Can I get a copy whilst I wait at a Probate Registry?
No, if a record is found or you know the details of the grant the Registry will order it and it will be available for collection within several days or it can be sent to you in the post.
What copies will I receive?
If a will has been proved you will be sent a copy of the will as well as a copy of the grant. The copies will not be sealed. The Probate Registry only proves and holds the last Will made.
How do I get a sealed copy?
If you need a sealed copy of the grant to use for legal purposes to administer the estate you should tick the relevant box on form PA1S (Application for a General Search).
I need a sealed copy to use abroad what should I do?
These copies are called sealed and certified. If you need this type of copy you should tick the relevant box on form PA1S (Application for a General Search).
Why might there be no record of a grant having issued?
Probate is not compulsory. If the death occurred a long time ago, it probably means that a grant was not needed, in which case we will be unable to help you further. If the death was more recent, it may mean either that no grant was needed, or that a grant has not yet been obtained as there is no time limit for applying for probate.
If you think that a grant is likely to be issued, you may wish to enter a standing search.
What records does the Probate Service hold?
We hold records, recorded in calendars for all grants issued in England and Wales since 1858.
What about Probate Records before 1858?
The Probate Service does not hold any records or documents prior to 1858. If you require information about these, you are recommended to contact:
The National Archives,
Surrey, TW9 4DU
Tel: +44 (0) 020 8392 5330
or your local authority archivist for guidance.
The National Archives also have a research guide on where to start your research prior to 1858.
Information about records outside England and Wales
This guidance explains the procedure for obtaining copies where grants issued in England and Wales, for information regarding grants issued elsewhere in the UK and in the Irish Republic you should contact:
Scotland: National Archives of Scotland – www.nas.gov.uk
N Ireland: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland – www.proni.gov.uk
Rep Ireland: The Courts Service of Ireland – www.courts.ie
Foreign Country: Contact the relevant Court