Find a Will website down since 24 January

Statements on the website saying when it will be restored have been repeatedly changed

Screenshot from the government's Find a Will website saying that service will resume at 3pm on Friday 4th February

Monday 7 February update: The Find a Will website was briefly restored on the afternoon of 4 February, but is currently unavailable, with a message saying: “Service is down for essential maintenance. We will be back online shortly.”

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Find a Will, the government’s website for ordering post-1857 probate records, is currently down for maintenance.

Statements on the website saying when it will reopen have been repeatedly changed.

Find a Will allows family historians to search for English and Welsh probate records from 1858.

Since 2019, digital copies of the records have cost just £1.50. Delivery time takes up to 10 working days.

On 24 January, Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine visited the website.

At the time, it had an error message saying: “Website under maintenance. Unfortunately the site is unavailable due to site maintenance. Service will be resumed on Friday 28th January. Apologies for any disruption”.

Screenshot from Find a Will website saying service will resume on 28 January
A screenshot of the Find a Will website on 24 January

On 31 January, the text had been changed to say service would be resumed on “Monday 31st January”.

Screenshot from Find a Will website saying service will resume on 31 January
A screenshot of the Find a Will website on 31 January

On 1 February, it was again changed to say: “Sorry, the service is unavailable. You will be able to use the service from 9am on Friday 4 February. You can still search for a probate record by post.”

Screenshot of the Find a Will website saying service will resume at 9am on 4 February
A screenshot of the Find a Will website on 1 February

As of 11.23am on 4 February, the website has the same message but now says it will be available from 3pm on 4 February.

Screenshot from Find a Will website saying service will resume at 3pm on 4 February
A screenshot of the Find a Will website at 11.23am on 4 February

Ordering a probate record by post costs £1.50 or £3 for a ‘standing search’ (where it is unknown if a grant of representation has been issued). Response times are up to 28 days.

The Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for Find a Will, did not respond to a query from Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine asking why the promised date when the website would reopen had been repeatedly changed.

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Rosemary Collins is the features editor of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine