Since 1858, applications for grants of probate or letters of administration have been made at either the Principal Probate Registry in London (now the Principal Registry of the Family Division), or a district probate registry. The search rooms were, once upon a time, at First Avenue House (42-49 High Holborn) before moving to Court 38, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London in October 2013. Having located an entry in the National Probate Calendar, you completed a form and paid your fee (which of course has varied over the years). In the case of Court 38, you walked across the entire campus of the Royal Courts of Justice to pay for your wills and then return the order form back to Court 38. Such fun …. great exercise….!
Recently, the new Find A Will website went live – in Beta mode – and we genealogists got excited…. well, for a few minutes anyway! Now, we have access to the Probate Calendars up to ‘the present’ from the comfort of our own sofas/desks and we can order online. Hurrah …. well, maybe? The cost has now increased to £10 per Will. Not quite ‘an arm and a leg’ but an increase none-the-less. Some of us ‘pro-genies’ need to obtain certified and sealed copies (for various reasons which I’ll not bore you with….). Well, guess what the process for doing that is? [Bearing in mind, we could obtain the copies within a week for a total of £6 before…..]
1. Order the Will online
2. Wait ten days for it to be delivered to your ‘basket’
3. Print said will, place in an envelope and send by post to Leeds Registry, along with a completed PA1S form and an appropriate document/letter to verify your need for a certified copy of the Will
4. Wait for at least seven days for the Will to be returned to you
Oh, for the love of god…. (apologies to those of you who do believe but as I don’t, lower case). We pay nearly double (by the time you include postage) and we have to wait infinitely longer to actually receive the document we need. Seriously? Why the change? Is anyone gaining? [Oh what an idiotic question to ask. Of course they are…. more people are able to order wills so they are making more money! Doh!]