How to Find Old Wills

By Blaze Johnson
Where are the wills?

sign: funeral route image by Empath from Fotolia.com

Finding an old will of an ancestor or family member can provide you with invaluable information with regard to property held by the deceased and other family members involved. When a will is properly filed with the local probate court or clerk, a record is created of the filing as well as a copy of the will itself. Many old wills that have been filed with the court system are found in state archives and many jurisdictions have made digitized records you can search online.

Look through your family member's belongings for an old will if she had recently died. Safe deposit boxes, filing cabinets, religious books as well as the person’s attorney at the time of death may hold the will documents you are seeking.

Contact the local probate court or county clerk regarding your family member's will. You will need to know their full name as well as other identifying information on the deceased such as their Social Security number or date of birth. If your ancestor's/family member’s records have been moved to the state archive, ask the probate court/clerk personnel how to obtain them.

Prepare any paperwork needed for the probate court and pay any fees associated with obtaining the will documents associated with your family member. Check to see if the local probate court or clerk has a searchable online database that you can access. Many state or local court systems provide these online search databases free and save you considerable time in research.

About the Author

In the spring of 2008, Blaze Johnson decided to share his expertise through writing. He studied business administration at a local community college and runs his own driveway mechanic service, specializing in computer-controlled vehicles and custom car audio installs. Johnson also serves as the de facto computer repair person for his family, friends and coworkers.

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