Locating a Last Will & Testament

Certified Field Agent can help you track down a will through probate court

Finding a copy of a willWhile a living person’s will is considered a private document, once they pass away the will becomes a legally binding and public document. If the executor of a deceased person’s will has done their job properly, the will should have been entered into probate court for the purposes of fulfilling the terms of the will. The probate court records are open to the public and are the first and best place to look for a copy of a last will & testament you may have an interest in. The steps for securing actual copies of the will and other probate documentation can be time-consuming. Fortunately, you can contract the work out to Certified Field Agent to save yourself the time and hassle of doing the research on your own and possibly even having to appear at the courthouse in person.

Locate the Appropriate Probate Court

The first step to finding a copy of a will is to figure out where the will should have been filed for probate. Typically, this means the probate court in the county where the deceased person lived or the county where they owned property. In some states, there is no specific probate court but instead circuit court, surrogate’s court, orphan’s court, or some other court name may be used to designate the court that handles probate issues.

Check the Court Dockets

Once we figure out where the will should be, we can check the court dockets to see whether a probate case has been opened in the deceased person’s name. Sometimes the court dockets can be checked online, and in other cases we may have to call or appear in person to find out if a will was probated at that court. Since Certified Field Agent has professionals stationed all over the country, appearing in person poses little difficulty for us.

Request a Copy of the Will

If the court dockets indicate that probate was filed, we will then make a request on your behalf for a copy of the will and any other documents you may wish to see. Some courts may charge a fee for copying the documents, but it is typically minimal.

What if the Will Was Not Filed for Probate?

If no probate court records can be found for the deceased person, you will need to determine who (if anyone) possesses a copy of the will. Then you can file a court action to require that person to turn over the will to the probate court.