How to Find Someone’s Will, part 1

A will is a public document, so, how do you get a copy of someone’s will?

To begin with, no one is given the right to access the last will and testament of someone who is still alive. While living, everyone’s will is their own personal property, and no one else is privy to it.
In regards to gaining access to the will of someone after they pass away, how to accomplish this depends upon whether the will was subject to probate.

To find out if the will has been filed for probate, first check online. Check the website of the county court where either the death occurred or where the person owned property. If that is not available online, call the court and ask by the person’s name, if the will has been filed for probate.

Nearly every will in probate is considered a public record of the court, and therefore available to anyone who goes through the correct procedures for the specific court involved. Generally, here are the normal actions necessary to gain possession of a copy of a will once it has been probate-filed:

1. Show up at the court and request a copy of the document, or
2. Send a written request for a copy via mail, fax, or email.
3. Pay a modest (normally half a dollar) cost for each page of the will to be copied.
4. Give the court an envelope with the address on it of where the copy is to be mailed.

Following the above steps will usually gain one a copy of the last will and testament required, if probate is involved. If probate is not involved, then next we will discuss “How to Obtain a Copy of a Will Not Filed For Probate”.

Are you interested in preventing your will from being made public? This is one of the many benefits of a living trust. If you want to learn more. Please contact us to discuss your needs.

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