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.”
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”.
On 31 January, the text had been changed to say service would be resumed on “Monday 31st 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.”
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.
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.
Rosemary Collins is the features editor of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine