How Do You Obtain Probate Documents?

The first step in obtaining copies of probate documents is to conduct a document search either online or in person at a county courthouse. An online search allows individuals to view documents, and instructions for obtaining copies are posted online. Some county courts allow electronic research and viewing of probate documents at the courthouse, and copies are made at computer stations. Some courts require forms to be submitted for viewing and copying probate documents.

A quick way to find probate documents is to do an online search to locate the court where the documents are on file. Once the court location is found, submit a written request to the court to obtain copies, or make arrangements to visit the court. Courts often charge a nominal fee for making copies of documents, and a fee is sometimes charged to conduct in-person document searches.

The King County courthouse in Washington state has special computers designated for electronic court records searches. Entering a case number into the computer brings up all documents related to the case, and users can order a plain or certified copy of probate documents, which are then picked up at the county clerk's copy center. Alternatively, the District of Columbia Courts provides copy request forms at its website that must be submitted to the county clerk's office.