Estate Duty Registers

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The Death Duty registers are among the most important genealogical records in England and Wales. Several legacy, residue and succession duty acts between 1796 and 1858 required that a duty (tax) be paid on all bequests and succession to property over a certain value. Duties were deposited with the Legacy Duty Department of the Stamp Office. Very small estates were excluded from paying the required duty. These estate duty or death duty records may add considerable information not found elsewhere.

Locating the Records

The problem facing a researcher looking for probate material before 1858 is to know which one of the more than 300 courts administered the desired probate. Records Articles in the Wiki will tell you more about court jurisdictions. To find them, start by search for the name of the county and the words Probate Records.

Information In the Records

  • Name and address of the deceased
  • Date of death
  • Place and date of probate
  • Names, addresses and occupations of the executors
  • Details of estates and related matters
  • Amount of the duty paid

They also included information about the people who received bequests (beneficiaries), or who were the next-of-kin, such as exact relationship to the deceased.

How to Use the Index

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Understanding the Records

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For More Information

To learn more about these records, read The National Archives (England) online leaflets.