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Are Probate Records Public Information?

Are Probate Records Public Information

Probate is the legal procedure whereby a will is “proven to be valid” in a courtroom and acknowledged as a substantial open record that is the genuine last will and testament. It is important that we realize how important this process is.

We want to make sure that each bequest is settled by the laws of intestacy in the condition of living arrangement or property of the deceased at time of death with or without a will. Ascent Law can help you do this.

The allowing of probate is the initial phase in the lawful procedure of directing the domain of a perished individual, settling all cases and dispersing the expired individual’s property under a will. A probate court chooses the lawful legitimacy of a departed benefactor’s (perished person’s) will and gives its endorsement, otherwise called giving probate, to the agent. The probated will at that point turns into a lawful instrument that might be upheld by the agent in the law courts if essential. A probate additionally formally delegates the agent (or individual agent), for the most part named in the will, as having lawful capacity to discard the deceased benefactor’s advantages in the way determined in the departed benefactor’s will. Notwithstanding, through the probate procedure, a will might be contested.


Find the deceased person’s full legal name. …

Confirm the date of death. …

Determine the last place of residence. …

Find the probate index for the records you want. …

Visit the probate court if you can’t find the records online. …

Find the will or other document. …

Check if you can make copies.

How to Read a Will in Public Records

The terms of a last will and testament are private until the testator, or will maker, dies — you cannot know the contents of a living person’s will unless he shows you. However, once the testator dies, the will’s executor files the document with the probate court. While courts sometimes restrict access to celebrities’ wills, you can review the vast majority of wills at the court clerk’s office. You can even read a celebrity’s will if you are a relative and have a reasonable hope or expectation of receiving a bequest.

Are Wills Open to the Public?

Wills are available to people in general after they become effective, not previously. A will is the composed portrayal of how the individual causing the will to – the deceased benefactor – needs her property appropriated after her demise. Since states control wills, procedural necessities change, yet every purview treats wills as private during the life of the departed benefactor. When the departed benefactor passes on, be that as it may, her will moves into the open domain.

Executed Wills

A departed benefactor may draft many wills during her lifetime, yet by and large, just one is powerful – the one she drafted most recent throughout everyday life, nearest to her demise. Since a will distinguishes the deceased benefactor’s picked beneficiaries, she may revise or revamp her will as individuals move into and out of her life. Relational unions, divorces, passings, births and selections trigger new confirmations. Every one of these wills remains the private property of the deceased benefactor while she lives.

Compelling Wills

Since by definition, wills pass property at death, no will is compelling until the departed benefactor kicks the bucket. A living deceased benefactor overrides one will by composing another or basically drops a will by tossing it in the flame. At death, in any case, further alteration is outlandish. The most recent will – whenever demonstrated substantial – is viable and gives the structure to appropriation of property to beneficiaries. Courts oversee resource dissemination in a procedure considered probate and the minute the will is a court report, it turns into an open archive.

Probated Wills

Most departed benefactors name agents in their wills. An agent skippers the will through the straits of probate. He generally documents the will with the probate court – despite the fact that beneficiaries additionally can do this – and petitions for the court to open probate. The court allows the appeal if the expired dwelled in the ward during her lifetime. The agent at that point gathers and inventories resources, contacts beneficiaries, pays home obligations lastly disseminates the property, all under the attentive gaze of the court. During the probate procedure, the will is a court archive, open to open review.

Post-Probated Wills

When the court endorses the agent’s arrangement for property appropriation, the agent discharges every single outstanding advantage for the beneficiaries and closes probate. The court does not discard the probate record, in any case. Courts hold all records even after they are shut, either on PC, on microfilm or in unique structure. An individual from the open perspectives old or filed documents either at the court assistant’s office or by visiting a filed record office. The court assistant gives data about how to continue.

Step by step instructions to Find Out If a Deceased Person Had a Will

During an individual’s lifetime, the best way to find on the off chance that he has a will is to inquire. The presence of a will winds up open data, in any case, when the departed benefactor kicks the bucket. The agent documents the last will and confirmation with the court where a probate judge decides the legitimacy of the will and directs will organization. Probate archives are available to the general population for survey. When you figure out which court probates a perished individual’s domain, a look in the court probate document affirms or invalidates the presence of a will

Figure out where the perished deceased benefactor dwelled. For the most part, the court in the district where the perished spent his last years has probate ward. Consider the court agent’s office in that district and request that how check probate status. A few courts keep up robotized telephone lines where you input the expired’s name and date of death to get familiar with the probate document number. Others update an Internet website with probate data. Numerous purviews expect you to go to the court itself. If so, acquire the road address of the court and its business hours.

Go to the probate court and discover the court representative’s office. Give the assistant the name and date of death of the perished and solicitation the probate record. The representative finds the document and enables you to peruse it at the window or in a different record audit territory. Search for the will among the early filings. The agent’s underlying documenting for the most part comprises of a Petition for Probate, the last will and confirmation and the demise endorsement. Affirm that the will departed benefactor is the individual whose will you look for by contrasting date of birth and road address data. Peruse the will.

Survey ensuing reports to find out whether the court led the will legitimate. The agent must “demonstrate” the will by building up appropriate marking and execution in similarity with state law; all states require in any event two grown-up observers. On the off chance that the court administered the will invalid – either in view of inappropriate execution or after a will challenge – the agent probates a prior will. Find and survey that will later in the probate document. In the event that no prior will exists, the domain goes to blood family under the intestate circulation resolutions.

Look in different provinces if the court agent does not find probate under the name of the expired. “Spot of main living place” is a lawful idea, turning to a great extent on an individual’s plan, and some of the time individuals control their living arrangement for assessment purposes. Decide if the expired kept up a living arrangement in another area and check with that province’s probate court.

Step by step instructions to Locate Online Public Probate Records and Request Copies

When you have found the fitting district where the probate domain ought to be managed, an online quest should be possible for that province’s probate court or probate court dockets. This can be precarious on the grounds that in certain states the probate court isn’t really called the probate court, it could be alluded to as the “circuit court,” “surrogate’s court,” “vagrant’s court,” or some other number of courts.

Yet, be industrious. Since probate happens in every single district over the U.S., odds are you will most likely find the proper court’s online data.

Here are a few hunts that you can attempt:

•          “_________ (embed proper name) County probate records”

•          “_________ (embed proper name) County probate court”

•          “_________ (embed proper name) County probate dockets”

•          “_________ (embed proper name) region court records”

When you have found the fitting province and view the probate court docket on the web, for the most part the means associated with acquiring a duplicate of a will or other probate archive straightforwardly from the probate court will incorporate the accompanying:

1.Appearing face to face and requesting a duplicate of the will or other probate records, or making a composed solicitation by fax or mail if applying face to face isn’t practical.

2.Paying a replicating expense for the quantity of pages that the will or other probate report contains. These expenses more often than not extend from $1.00 to a couple of dollars for each page.

3.Providing a self-tended to, stepped envelope for mailing the duplicates if the solicitation isn’t made face to face.

What to Do if You Cannot Locate Probate Records Online

If you do not have any luck in locating the appropriate probate court’s dockets online, then you can try the following:

1.Go to the probate court in person and ask for assistance in locating the documents. In most cases, the clerk will be able to look up the estate information by using the decedent’s legal name, and if an estate has been opened, you will be able to view the actual probate file and request copies of applicable documents.

2.Call the probate court and ask how to obtain copies of documents. Some probate clerks will be very helpful, while others not so much.

3.Call an estate planning attorney’s office in the area near the applicable probate court and ask if they will assist you in obtaining copies of probate documents from the local probate court. The office will most likely charge a fee for their services, but if you do not live close to the area, this will save you from the travel expenses that will be incurred to travel to the court yourself.

If you are unsuccessful after trying all of the above suggestions, your chances are that a probate estate has not been opened for the decedent in question. If you believe that a probate estate should have been opened, you should consult with an estate planning attorney in the area where the decedent lived in order to determine all of your options.

Records available to the public:

When an award of probate or letters of organization has issued, duplicates of the award and the first will might be gotten on installment of the suitable expenses by any individual from people in general.

The Records of the Probate Office holds the records for awards which have issued inside the previous 20 years. The records for awards which issued before this are held at the National Archives.

The Probate Office additionally holds records of all awards which have issued from the 14 District Probate Registries inside the previous 20 years. These records

are for perusing purposes as it were. To get duplicates of archives when the award issued in a District Probate Registry contact that Registry straightforwardly.

You can apply for a pursuit and/or duplicate archives by post by finishing Form and paying the pertinent expense. The data notes contained in that structure give additional data about directing looks and applying for duplicate reports. The structure determines the Probate Office necessities.

On the off chance that you are applying to a District Probate Registry, contact that library first to affirm any uncommon necessities that vault may have.

You may likewise go to face to face at the Probate Office to apply for a quest or for duplicate archives. In the event that you wish to examine the records when going to you should give 48 hours notice as the records should be recovered from capacity. Documents recovered for assessment will be accessible for 5 days. After that period, they will be come back to capacity.


Probate is a function of state governments. Therefore, the laws and resulting records vary from state to state and changed over time. Probate records for many states can be found at the local county courthouse. The particular office of jurisdiction might be that of the Probate Court, the Equity Court, the Register of Wills, the County Clerk, the Circuit Court, or others. Some colonial records were kept by the town or the colony. See the wiki pages of each state for more information on pre-statehood, historical, and current probate records and jurisdictions.

The U.S. government had locale over the probate records for Native American or Indian clans. The Bureau of Indians Affairs had offices in charge of territorial gatherings of perceived clans. The Field Office of the proper innate office kept any probate records. These are found at the National Archives branch assigned to chronicle the records for the relevant organization.

Probate Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need legal help, please call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506