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Online Probate Search Service

A member wrote to HMCTS (Her Majesty's Courts and Tribune Service) Wills Help desk because of a problem obtaining a Will.

The member said and asked, I was searching for GRACE WINIFRED PAILTHORPE who died 19 July 1971 Ninfield, Sussex.

The Probate index on Ancestry has the entry but on the www.gov.uk/search-will-probate it returns 'no record found'

Please confirm this is a glitch and the probate actually exists so we can apply for it and the will

The Help Desk responded that:

  • 1) there are a number of issues regarding searching and missing pages on the system.
  • 2) there are issues which they were aware of, regarding the pages not displaying properly and information which is covered up or unable to bring into view.

They proactively responded that their IT team were working on these problems.

One of our other members had also found a problem and wrote with a work around:-

She found a workaround - at least she hopes it works. She looked up the probate details on Ancestry. Then she then searched on the Probate service site using the correct dates / names it returned nothing. She kept paging forward year by year until it returned something (which of course was not the page that matched her entry. By clicking on the page however it did bring me to the screen to enter the death date and probate details. She then entered in the correct details based on the Ancestry printout and submitted it. She then sent them an email with screen shots showing what had happened. Hopefully this will work and she will at least be able to get the correct will.

She has now reported 3 different bugs to HMCTS.. She did get a reply to one of her emails about 1 week later apologizing for the problem and saying they would locate the certificate and resend it to me.

We all feel sorry for their Help Desk – and the probability of them being overwhelmed with emails. Our member has only ordered 3 certificates and all 3 had multiple problems, so she has submitted 3 separate 'bug reports' with screen shots.

Let hope the Help desk's IT team soon sort out the glitches in the system. 

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