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Millions of Wills now available online

A story that recently caught our attention was about the wills of Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens and Princess Diana being made accessible online. This, according to a report from the BBC, is thanks to a new government database that allows members of the public to search wills from England and Wales as far back as 1858.

For a fee of £10, anyone is able to view and download one of the 41 million wills that make up the archive. From researching family history to looking at wills written by famous people (including George Orwell, AA Milne and Alan Turing), all that is required is a name and year of death to access the documents.

The archive also contains wills of everyone who died while serving in the British armed forces between the years of 1850 and 1986.

It is reported that employees at the Birmingham-based warehouse in which the physical documents are stored will give the system their full support. This is essential because even though the wills are available online, many still require someone to track down the physical document itself. Once located, these documents are scanned and sent to the person who has made the request within ten days of the order being placed.

The BBC added that although the warehouse has recruited additional staff, it is hard to anticipate how much demand there will be for this service.

Courts minister Shailesh Vara stated that: "This fascinating project provides us with insights into the ordinary and extraordinary people who helped shape this country, and the rest of the world."

Whose will would you most like to access? With 41 million on offer you are spoilt for choice.