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Problems with the probate website

Discussion in 'Wills and probate' started by CarolB08, Feb 7, 2022.

  1. John L

    John L LostCousins Member

    After I sent Iron Mountain a snottygram about the abysmal search function, I recieved the following (surprisingly helpful) reply which actually works!

    Give it a try!

    "Dear customer,

    In order to narrow down your search. If you know the first and last name of the deceased then you can enclose the search in speech marks.

    So, for example John Smith will look like this:


    This will narrow down any instances of when John Smith are associated and next to each other in the probate calendar. This will significantly reduce the amount of pages that you will have to go through in order to find your details on our system.

    You will still need to enter the year to search.

    In the advanced search we would advise considering entering information into these fields as they sometimes confuse the search system. And can result in no information being found. You can leave these blank.

    If you are looking for dates which pre-date 1996 then you are searching for the probate date, as opposed to the date of death. This date is always after the date of death and can follow onto the next year (depending on when probate was applied for and issued).

    Dates after 1996 (inclusive) are searchable via the date of death.

    If you have any further issues please don’t hesitate to contact us.

    Kind Regards,

    HMCTS Wills Helpdesk"
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 3
  2. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Presumably there is a 'not' missing?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. John L

    John L LostCousins Member

    I guess so - what I posted is exactly as recieved.
  4. sarah333

    sarah333 Member

    I think the customers should get a discount if they have to wait beyond a certain date. Tis would have to be decided upon by the Probate service themselves.
  5. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Government services are provided at cost, so if some customers get discounts others will have to pay more. The exception would be if the refund came from the contractors, but that would depend on the wording of the contract.

    It's worth bearing in mind that 20 years ago copies of wills cost £5 and you had to weeks or months for them to arrive through the post. When the wills site originally launched the cost was £10.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Lorilee D

    Lorilee D Member

    I've been able to place an order, and have received the response that it is ready to download, but after signing in I can't download it. There is nothing under my account and I can't find the "My Wills" section anywhere. I have given my feedback, but hope someone else has an idea or two.
  7. Sue_3

    Sue_3 LostCousins Member

    Screenshot 2022-10-25 195241.jpg
    See the above screenshot, if you navigate to 'My Orders' and then scroll down then you ought to be able to see the orders and their download links under 'Active Orders'. It isn't very user friendly, I agree.
  8. Lorilee D

    Lorilee D Member

    Thank you for your help, but when I logged in again my page had everything in your screenshot except "My Orders". So it looks like I don't actually have an order currently. I'll keep trying. Thank you again. It gives me some hope.
  9. Sue_3

    Sue_3 LostCousins Member

    That seems a bit odd, given that they sent you an email to say that your order was ready to download? I take it you are logging in with the same email address that they contacted you on?
  10. Lorilee D

    Lorilee D Member

    Yes it is very odd, and yes I'm using the same address. When I log in I arrive at My Accounts. The page gives my sign in details and the option to change my password. Nothing else. I'll be reaching out to them again for sure.
  11. Lorilee D

    Lorilee D Member

    I received a new email overnight advising that my order item was fulfilled. It was and I now have one item in my orders. I guess it just took some time to complete.
  12. Sue_3

    Sue_3 LostCousins Member

    Great news! Thanks for letting us know.

    So you know that it's not just you, I had four items on order and have so far today received seven emails advising that an order was complete. I think they are sending one email per document, however I have eventually been able to download eight documents - two for each order. It took me about half an hour to do that though, as the links didn't work most of the time. I had to keep refreshing the screen or logging out and in again. Don't ask me why because I really don't know. The site was much better before they 'enhanced' it!
  13. Stuart

    Stuart LostCousins Member

    With a bit of trial and error, it seems that you can put any search terms into any of the three boxes for first name, last name, and keyword, and it just searches the whole page for all of them. A last name (and year) is compulsory, but can be anything you like - it doesn't look anywhere in particular to find it. If you don't use quotation marks then multiple words in a box are separate search terms. Thus a common surname and no other terms can give almost all the pages, as it may be found as an executor's or street name anywhere on them. I've found entering a town as keyword often works well.

    Has anyone else had a look at the "release notes" to be found via that menu item? It's a rather odd thing to find on a page like this, and you probably need experience of programming a facility like this to really make sense of it. This was (it says) made available 12/5/22 and updated just once 13/6/22. For example, it tells me that the keyword field I mentioned above was introduced in front-end version 1.0.14 on 12th May - which may or may not be useful to know.

    It does give a stronger impression of a professional programming team at work than the product itself, but the latest new behaviour negates that, suggesting they don't really know what they are up to after all. The last order I had was placed on 9th October, and I got five "order item fulfilled" e-mails the next day. I downloaded those items on 11th, and I got a repeat of that e-mail for each item just afterwards. Yes - identical - saying the item I had just got was now available.
  14. Stuart

    Stuart LostCousins Member

    To go one step further, the words you put in the boxes for last name, first name, and keyword are concatenated in that order (with spaces between) and the result fed to a standard search engine. That may be part of Amazon's AMS Textract, which they say they use. So you can compose a search string, with part in quotes if you like, and put it all in the "last name" box, or else spread it over all three. The effect is the same either way.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  15. Mitch_in_Notts

    Mitch_in_Notts LostCousins Member

    On my active orders page I have 'Download Grant' and 'Download Will'. When I click on them the Grant downloads easily but nothing happens when I click on the Will. I have logged out, tried refreshing, tried on another day etc. Is this also a common problem at the moment?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    I downloaded a will and a grant yesterday (about 24 hours ago) without any problems.
  17. Mitch_in_Notts

    Mitch_in_Notts LostCousins Member

    Thanks, just tried again, not working, looks like I'm sending them an email.....
  18. Sue_3

    Sue_3 LostCousins Member

    This is the problem I have been having, as discussed above. However, I have been able to download all of my documents eventually, although not always right away. I seem to get an email saying that my order is ready to download, but then I can only download one document. More often than not I then get another email and then the other document can be downloaded as well. Sometimes I don't get a second email, but can download the other document anyway. I've never had to wait more than a day for the second document and it's usually only been a few minutes.

    I don't know why this is happening. I am using the Google Chrome browser on a desktop PC.
  19. Mitch_in_Notts

    Mitch_in_Notts LostCousins Member

    Got another email from probate site this morning and can now download the Will. Weird set up.
  20. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Although I haven't experienced this issue myself, it would appear that the confusion could be avoided by changing the wording of the emails. Perhaps we could devise some more appropriate wording for them to adopt? (This area of the forum is publicly visible, so they might actually start using it.)

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