What are Probate Registries?
Probate Registries are branches of the court which you need to deal with when applying for probate (Grant of Representation).
They are the section of the high court that helps you get legal permission to carry out your role as an executor (if there is a will) or as an administrator (if there isn’t a will).
It is down to the probate registries to do their best to ensure that the early stages of the probate process have been carried out according to the rules.
This includes checking that the right forms have been received and that the relevant (inheritance tax) payments have been made.
What is grant of probate?
Correct paperwork must be sent to the Probate Registry
As part of the application process for Grant of Representation, you will need to complete a probate form (PA1) and an inheritance tax form (either IHT 205 or IHT 400) and send these to the Probate Registry. The service is now also available online – and if you use this service, documents will be sent to a different address which you'll be given during the online application.
You should also send the original will – plus extra copies – along with the death certificate and application fee.
Probate forms: PA1, IHT205 and more
Finding your local Probate Registry
The London Probate Department (the Principal Registry of the Family Division) is located at: 7th Floor, 42-29 High Holborn, First Avenue House, Holborn, London SW1V6NP.
Go online for maps and directions: London Probate Department
There are then a host of locations across the UK, each of which has a district registry. These include Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Ipswich, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Sheffield and Winchester.
Birmingham District Probate Registry
The Priory Courts, 33 Bull Street, Birmingham B4 6DU
Go online for maps and directions: Birmingham District Probate Registry
Brighton District Probate Registry
William Street, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 0RF
Go online for maps and directions: Brighton District Probate Registry
Bristol District Probate Registry
The Civil Justice Centre, 2 Redcliff Street, Bristol BS1 6GR
Go online for maps and directions: Bristol District Probate Registry
Cardiff Probate Registry of Wales
3rd Floor, Cardiff Magistrates Court, Fitzalan Place, Cardiff, South Wales CF24 0RZ
Go online for maps and directions: Cardiff Probate Registry of Wales
Ipswich District Probate Registry
Ground Floor, 8 Arcade Street, Ipswich IP1 1EJ
Go online for maps and directions: Ipswich District Probate Registry
Leeds District Probate Registry
York House, 31 York Place, Leeds LS1 2BA
Go online for maps and directions: Leeds District Probate Registry
Liverpool District Probate Registry
Queen Elizabeth II Law Courts, Derby Square, Liverpool L2 1XA
Go online for maps and directions: Liverpool District Probate Registry
Manchester District Probate Registry
Manchester Civil Justice Centre, Ground Floor, 1 Bridge Street West, PO BOX 4240, Manchester M60 9DJ
Go online for maps and directions: Manchester District Probate Registry
Newcastle District Probate Registry
1 Waterloo Square, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne & Wear NE1 4DR
Go online for maps and directions: Newcastle District Probate Registry
Oxford District Probate Registry
Combined Court Building, St. Aldates, Oxford OX1 1LY
Go online for maps and directions: Oxford District Probate Registry
Sheffield District Probate Registry
PO Box 832, The Law Courts, 50 West Bar, Sheffield, S3 8YR
Go online for maps and directions: Sheffield Probate Sub-Registry
Winchester District Probate Registry
4th Floor, Cromwell House, Andover Road, Winchester SO23 7EW
Go online for maps and directions: Winchester District Probate Registry
Equally, there are also a number of sub-registries nationwide.
The easiest way to find your nearest Probate Registry is by typing in your postcode here: Find your local Probate Registry.
Main probate registries are open Monday to Friday from 9.30am – 4pm; opening hours are slightly longer in London.
If you plan to visit a probate sub-registry, it is worth calling ahead to check that it is open, as some may not be staffed all the time.
When applying for probate, you can go to any Probate Registry. You do not have to go to the one nearest where the person died.
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Swear an oath
As part of the application process for the Grant of Representation, you will also need to attend an interview and swear an oath.
This involves you promising that the information you have provided about the nature and value of the estate is true to the best of your knowledge.
You can do this at your local probate office. However, there's no need to swear an oath if you're applying online (for applications with a will for England and Wales only).
What if solicitors have been instructed?
It’s worth noting, however, that if you have appointed a solicitor or other legal services provider to apply for the Grant for you, you will not have to go to the local probate office to swear an oath.
Instead, you can do this at the office of a commissioner for oaths (usually a solicitor).
This is one of the benefits of getting a third party to fully administrate an estate.
The oath will then be lodged with the relevant Probate Registry, along with the relevant IHT paperwork and original will.
Government proposes changes to probate fees
You should only deal with the Probate Registry early in the process
While the probate process can seem complicated, it does follow a set sequence – and the Grant of Representation is just one early step in the probate process.
As the Probate Registry deals primarily with issuing Grants of Representation, you should not have to deal with this organisation again once the grant has been issued.
Generally speaking, you should get the grant through the post within 10 working days of swearing the oath.
This means you can then set about collecting in the deceased’s money, closing their bank accounts, selling their property and paying their bills and tax.
Discover more about wills, probate and inheritance tax to ensure your loved ones are provided for
At this stage, the Probate Registry will no longer be involved in any of the dealings with the deceased’s estate.