Finding a Last Will and Testament in Texas is necessary if you want to settle the affairs of a deceased person, contest a will or have a general interest in the estate -- for example, for historical or genealogy purposes. A Last Will and Testament is a legal document on which a person details how his assets are to be distributed among his loved ones after death. Wills may be filed for safekeeping in Texas probate courts and are needed to commence probate proceedings, the legal process for the settlement of estates.
Write down the full name of the deceased person and the date of death. List all of the residences the deceased person had in Texas, including the county; highlight the address she lived at when she died.
Read More: Do You File a Will in the Public Records Office in Texas?
List all of the real estate the deceased person owned. Note the city and county for each.
Visit the official website of the Texas Court System, Texas Courts Online. Click "Judicial Directory" at the top right of the Web page. "Court" should already be selected on the Directory Search page, but click the drop-down menu and select "Court" if "Personnel" is shown instead. Click the drop-down menu to the right of "Court Type." Select "County Probate Court." Click the drop-down menu for "Address City" and choose the city the decedent lived in at the time of death. Write down the contact information and address information for the court shown.
If no results are shown for the city, return to the drop-down menu for "Address City" and select "All Cities." Locate the probate court in the correct county that is closest to the deceased person's last address. Write down the contact and address information.
Visit the official website of the county probate court you located. Some Texas probate divisions have partial records online. Look for a "records search" or "search index" link; set the search to "probate" or "probate division" if available. Enter the name of the deceased person to see if any probate proceedings have been commenced. The will of the person is at the probate division where the proceedings were held.
Contact the probate court you located if you cannot find information online. Ask the court clerk what the procedure is to request a will search. Request a will search form be mailed to you if the court offers mail-in searches. A fee may apply to your request. Fill out the form in full and return to the probate court along with any required fees; the probate court should notify you if the will is located.
Visit the probate court office or the probate division of the county clerk in person if directed to do so by the court clerk. Bring your Texas identification with you; some probate offices require legal ID for searches. Give the clerk the name and death date of the deceased person to assist her in the will search.
Revisit the Texas Courts Online website if you did not locate the will. Use the search directory to locate probate courts with jurisdiction over the deceased person's other residences and areas where the person owned real estate. Visit the official website of each court to search the records where available. Contact the court clerk's office for each court to request instructions on performing a will search if the information is not online.
If the will has already been through probate proceedings, you may be able to view the document. You may not be able to view a will for which no legal proceedings have been completed unless the will is your own or you are an attorney for the estate.
Anna Assad began writing professionally in 1999 and has published several legal articles for various websites. She has an extensive real estate and criminal legal background. She also tutored in English for nearly eight years, attended Buffalo State College for paralegal studies and accounting, and minored in English literature, receiving a Bachelor of Arts.