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We are always happy to answer any questions you may have before using our service. If you have a specific question which is not answered below or from the information given on our website, please contact us

Important note: we are not qualified to advise on legal matters or anything that might be construed as being a legal matter. 

We are an independent company and have no association with HMCTS (HM Courts and Tribunals Service) or the online search facility made available via gov.uk 

Probate Records - Frequently Asked Questions

Why use probaterecords.co.uk?
Postal applications can be made to the Probate Service but generally take 6-8 weeks to be processed. We offer an expedited service by making direct applications. All documents are checked by us for errors and we ensure the correct seal/certification has been added prior to shipping. This is an invaluable service, especially for clients who reside overseas. Put simply, we offer a time saving and value added service.

Do you offer a faster service?
We are not privileged to any priority service, but do our utmost to give an expedited service by making a direct application. If your requirement is extremely urgent, we advise that you contact the issuing district probate registry for advice. This normally involves visiting the registry in person by appointment and showing proof of urgency. Our service guarantee, is offered for this purpose. In the event a document order is placed with us and is then subsequently obtained prior to our day of shipping, a full and immediate refund is available upon request. This forms part of our terms of service.

Are documents original?
When probate is initially granted, copies of the grant of probate (bearing the official court seal) are supplied to the deceased personal representative. The original is thereafter kept securely on file by the government probate service. All subsequent copies are issued from the original held on file, with the court seal being added as proof that the document is genuine. The same applies to any Will associated with the probate. You may be asked to supply an original copy, but this simply means an official court sealed copy i.e not a photocopy. The copies we obtain on your behalf are issued directly from the government probate service (HMCTS) and are 100% genuine and suitable for any legal or official purpose.

Can you help with documents required for use overseas?
Our service is most appropriate for those residing overseas or for shipping to an overseas address. For use overseas, the document is normally required to be court sealed and certified with or without the addition of an Apostille/Legalisation certificate (we advise you check with the overseas authority). Our standard delivery options include airmail at no additional charge, however we strongly advise that a tracked option is chosen. Worldwide courier delivery can be arranged and should be requested via email after your order has been placed. This enables us to give a fixed price quote and delivery timescale. Additional courier fees require pre-payment via our PayPal invoice (a PayPal account is not required for this purpose). Estimated worldwide courier fees are between 25-45 GBP.

Why does your service only cover England & Wales
We are a small team with a network of agents. Our service often involves making visits in person and for this reason we cover a restricted area. Other areas of the United Kingdom have their own government probate departments and should be contacted direct. An internet search should provide the relevant contact information.

What is probate?
In England and Wales probate is normally the term used to describe the legal process involved in dealing with the assets of a person who has died. An application for probate is made to a district probate registry and a copy of the will is submitted with the application unless the deceased died intestate. When probate has been granted a legal document called a grant of representation is issued (often referred to as a grant of probate, certificate of probate or letters of administration). This document acts as proof that the deceased’s personal representative (executor/next of kin etc.) has the legal authority to deal with the deceased’s assets.
Is probate always required?
Probate is normally required if the deceased held assets valued at over £5000 in their sole name. Probate may not be required if assets were held jointly i.e with a surviving spouse or if assets were liquidated prior to death. We are not qualified to advise on if and when probate may be required as we have no knowledge of the deceased’s circumstances at the time of death.
Why can’t I find a record using the online probate search facility made available by gov.uk?
As above; probate may not have been required. In this instance no public record relating to the administration of the deceased’s estate is made available as a public record. Probate may be pending; there is no time limit on how long a deceased’s personal representative may take to apply for probate, this could be weeks or even years.
Can a will be supplied prior to death or prior to probate having been granted?
A will is submitted as part of a probate application and then held on file indefinitely. It is only made available as a public record after probate has been granted.
What research do you offer in relation to probate records and wills?
If the deceased’s exact name and date of death is known we advise that you first make a search via the online government probate search facility. If no entry is listed, this may be because probate has not been granted. We advise you make a regular search.

Probate research is an area in which we excel. This is often required when for example a date of death is unknown. This is a vital piece of information and without it, nearly impossible to identify a matching probate entry. This is where our research capabilities come into play. We use the deceased’s last known address or area to find a matching entry and have an excellent success rate in identifying hard to find probate records. Our ‘reading' copy service should be used for this purpose. Note: in the event that no probate record is available, we retain a fee of 10.00 GBP for this service.
Someone has recently passed away. I need to know if they left a will and where it is located.
This is not part of our service. We can only help with probated wills. Other services are available for this purpose; try an internet search under the term “will finder”
What is a court sealed copy?
A court sealed grant of probate includes the embossed seal of the court (replaced by a hologram seal after March 2019) and acts as proof that the document is genuine. It is recognised throughout the United Kingdom. Note: the hologram seal applies to probate grants only, the will is embossed with the court seal.
What is a certified copy?
As above but also includes certification by the registry that the document is a true copy of the original. This should only be a requirement for use overseas.
What is an apostille/legalisation certificate?
An apostille/legalisation certificate is issued by the government Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. For probate documents, it confirms to overseas authorities that the embossed seal is genuine. The certificate is glued to the document and then embossed with FCDO seal.
UK Documents, International House, 24 Holborn Viaduct, London, EC1A 2BN (Registered address - not open to public) | Tel 0333 7721325
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