How Can You Locate Probate Records for Free?


Quick Answer

Free probate records can normally be obtained from the probate clerk's office in the county in which the deceased person resided. However, there may sometimes be a small fee involved to cover the expense of copying the documents, states About.com

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Full Answer

Every U.S. county has an office that handles probate, but streamlining the process can be tricky because the steps involved to request the records likely differ from county to county. For example, FamilySearch states that some names of the office in charge of probate in different counties can be the County Clerk, the Circuit Court, the Register of Wills, the Equity Court or the Probate Court.

About.com states that four of the standard ways of locating and requesting probate documents include going to the probate court in person, looking up the records on the court's website, calling the probate court to request more information and contacting an estate planning attorney in the local area. A clerk at the probate court should be able to look up the deceased by his legal name and see whether any probate records have been filed. If one is unable to locate probate records after trying all four of these methods, there is a good chance that a probate case has not yet been opened for the decedent.

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