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Transfer the ownership of a grave

Copy of a Death Certificate

The National Archives

You will need to know the full names, date and place of death. If this is not known, you can search the index of deaths from 1837 until the present day, at the National Archives at Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU. Telephone 020 8876 3444 or you could visit their National Archives website for useful information. From 1984 you search by a year and then alphabetically by surname. Prior to 1984 the search is by quarters of each year.

The Register Office

If the death was within the last 18 months, you can ask for a copy of the death certificate from the Register Office for the area in which the death occurred. You can get a copy certificate from 1836 to the present day from The General Register Office (GRO). Copy death certificates can also be ordered online. Further useful information can be found on the Gov.UK website.

Will, Probate or Letters of Administration

The National Archives

If you need to find out if a Will was made, you can search the index to all Wills at the National Archives at Kew. Their index is from 1858 to 1943 on microfiche.

The Probate Service

To get a copy of a Will, Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, you can write to The York Probate Sub Registry, First Floor, Castle Chambers, Clifford Street, York, YO1 9RG. There is a small fee and any cheque should be made payable to HMCS.

A copy is usually provided within 21 days of your request. The full name of the deceased, date of death and last known address must be provided. You cannot request a copy of any Will, Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration by telephone.

You can also get a copy of any document in person by visiting First Avenue House, 42-49 High Holborn, London WC1V 6NP.

The offices are open from Monday to Friday, from 10am until 4.30pm.

Telephone 020 7947 6000 or 020 7947 6939 or visit the Probate Service website.

Please note that any document produced for a transfer of grave ownership should show the embossed area of the seal, or be a certified copy of the original.