How to Search for Money Left by Family Members

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After a person has passed away you may want to find out if they have left anything for you in their will. If you are not sure if someone in your family has left something to you in their will, a little bit of research can help you find out if you are entitled to any money or property.

Finding a WIll

Contact the probate courts. Start with the court in the area where the deceased was last known to have lived. Call or email the court and ask if the deceased has filed a will in that court. Be prepared to give information, such as name, address, social security number or other information about yourself or the deceased. The court will need this information to locate the will and verify your identity so that it can provide you with information. You can find information on contacting probate court in the social services section of the phone book or online. If you can't find any information in the deceased's last location, try contacting other places where he may have lived. Once you find the right court it will be able to tell what was in the will and if you're entitled to any part of the estate.

Find the deceased's attorney. Some hire an attorney to write and file a will. Go through any papers you have access to or ask friends and family if the deceased ever used an attorney. Once you have the attorney's information, contact her office. Be prepared to give information about yourself and the deceased. The law office will need this information to locate the will and verify you are authorized to obtain information about the deceased. Once they are able to locate the will they will either be able to give you the information about the will or point you to the appropriate probate court.

Talk to friends and family. Ask people who were close to the deceased if there was a will or if the person intended to leave you anything. They may be able to give you a better idea of where a will may be located. And give you an indication if you are entitled to anything from the estate.

Search the home. If you have access to the deceased's property go through their papers to try to locate the will. Look through drawers and closets. Any place where important papers can be easily hidden.


  • Check with the bank. Some leave important papers in their bank's safe deposit box. Banks may require more information than probate courts to allow you access to accounts or safe deposit boxes. If there is an executor to the estate you may want to ask him to come with you to the bank.