Estate Duty Registers
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.
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 for these courts are housed in many places throughout England. There is no central index. A solution to this problem is to check the indexes to the Estate duty registers. One index covers all of the country courts. Another index covers the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, the highest court in England. Many of the wills and administrations which were originally porbated in one of the 300+ courts are indexed in the Estate Duty registers.
Information In the Records
Estate Duty abstracts may add considerable to what iwas found in an original will or administration. Among the information is the following.
- 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
Understanding the Records
For More Information
To learn more about these records, read The National Archives (England) online leaflets.
You may be interested in learning more about probates and courts before 1858. There are many articles in the Wiki about probate records and court jurisdictions. To find them, start by searching for the name of the county and the words Probate Records.