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Wills and probate

Probate inventories

A probate inventory is a list of personal belongings owned by the deceased person, usually accompanied by a valuation. They were often compiled by neighbours of the deceased.

An inventory may accompany a will or administration, but inventories survive for a minority of people only.

Although inventories do not usually contain information about the deceased’s family, they give a fascinating insight into the life of the person in question.

They often go into great detail, recording the furniture and personal possessions in each room in the person’s house, as well as listing items in workshops, shops and farmyards.

For tradesmen and farmers, this may include details of the deceased person’s stock-in-trade and livestock.