41 million Wills Archived
In December 2014, a government archive of 41 million proved wills (i.e. those that have passed through probate following a death) became available to search online. The older records from 1858 to 1996 often include useful, freely viewable, extra information such as estate value. Records prior to 1968 generally include details of will executors and some occupations.
You can look up the wills of many notable and famous people of the past. For example – if you enter ‘nightingale’ and ‘1910’ a page will appear that includes an insertion in respect of the will of Florence Nightingale who died on 13 August 1910. It describes her as a spinster from Park Lane and states that she left a sum of £36127 16s.8d. And if you search for Charles Dickens 1870 you will find his will record showing that he died on 9th June 1870 and left ‘effects under £80,000’ – a very large amount for those days, equating to many millions today.
Here are the direct links to the Government Probate Records pages:
Once you have found the person you are searching for you can order a copy of the will record online for a charge of £10. It will then be emailed to you within 10 working days.