Wills and Administrations
This is the main link page to Wills and Administrations.
England and Wales
After 1858 jurisdiction over wills and administrations was transferred to a new civil Court of Probate and its probate registries in London and across the county. The Court of Probate was merged into the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice in 1875 and became the Family Division in 1970.
Wills were normally proved in the archdeaconry in which the testator died. If however, his possessions fell across two deaconries, or two bishoprics, or two archbishoprics then the will would be taken to the relevant consistory, diocese or prerogative court of the archbishop respectively. The highest church courts were the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (P.C.C.) for England and Wales and the Prerogative Court of York for the northern English provinces. But in practice the exception was almost as common as the rule. The wealthier the testator, the more likely their executor would take the will to the highest courts where records were better maintained and where the possibility of disputes was minimised.
There were also 'peculiar' jurisdictions of parishes and groups of parishes which were exempt from the archdeacon's and frequently the bishop's authority.
Bank of England Will Extracts
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