A last will and testament is a unique document in many ways. First, it becomes effective only when the person making the document (the testator) is dead. In addition, the will is an entirely private document while the testator is alive, but is a public document after her death.
In Bexar County, Texas, a person can search for a will in the probate court, by the probate number, the date of death or the name of the deceased. Probate clerks are available to assist.
Wills, Public and Private Documents
Wills are important legal documents. An individual writes a will during her lifetime in order to set out who is to inherit her property when she dies. A will can also include the testator's preferences for a person to serve as guardian of her minor children and for the person to supervise the probate process for her estate.
While a will can be a matter that arouses curiosity during the person's lifetime, it is a private document until the testator's death. If she wishes to show it to people, she can, but nobody is legally entitled to an early look. One reason for this is the fact that a will is not effective until the testator's death and can be changed at any time up until death for any reason whatsoever. A testator might write a will leaving 100 percent of her estate to her sister, then, the day before she dies, remove her sister from the will and leave everything to her brother.
After the testator dies, the will cannot be altered, for obvious reasons. It is filed with the probate court to begin the supervised process of probate, where the executor pays estate debts and transfers the remaining assets to beneficiaries. At this point, it is available for public viewing.
Probate Court in Bexar County
Bexar County is located in southeastern Texas. Like other counties in Texas, Bexar has a court system including a central county courthouse. The courthouse for Bexar County is located in San Antonio with a mailing address of: 100 Dolorosa Street #104, San Antonio Texas, 78205.
The two Bexar County probate courts are located in this building in rooms 117 and 123. Each court is headed by an elected judge. The courts are charged with probating the wills of deceased persons, naming the heirs of those who die without wills and establishing guardianships for incapacitated people.
The Bexar County Clerks of Court are in charge of filing probate and will records for the county. These public records in Bexar County are available to be searched and viewed by anyone.
Viewing a Will in Bexar County
Locating wills in the county's public records requires either a trip to the courthouse to conduct a search of the wills or a mail-in request. An individual interested in viewing a will filed in Bexar County has two options: he can go to the Bexar Probate Court in San Antonio personally, or he can arrange to have the will located and copied for him. The latter option is more convenient for those out of town, but there are fees involved.
To find and view a will in person, the individual should visit the Bexar County Courthouse during business hours. With the name and date of death of the deceased, the clerk will assist in finding the appropriate probate file. The will is often one of the first documents in the file.
Alternatively, call the court to order the record or run an online search through the Bexar County Public Records Search or Public Information Act Request Center. Although wills cannot be accessed online, the court clerk will make a copy and mail it on request, charging a fee for copying and sending the document.
Read More: How to Change a Name in Bexar County, Texas
- The Bexar County Courthouse website has an option to search for records. Will records are not included in this online index. The index primarily contains deeds and land records.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.