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Probate Records

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What Are Probate Records?

Probate records are the records and files of the various documents and forms that are maintained by a probate court. These generally have to do with the processing of a deceased person’s will, as well as the management of the estates of those who have died intestate (without a will). Probate records contain important information regarding the transfer of property, assets, or money under state inheritance and will laws.

Probate records a generally managed and kept by the county probate court. However, some older records may have been moved to state archives or other similar filing registries.

What Are Contained in Probate Records?

State probate records may vary in terms of what they contain and how far back in time they go. Probate records may contain:

  • Wills and will codicils (amendments to a will)
  • Petitions regarding estate executors or administrators
  • Will probate documents
  • Lists of heirs, beneficiaries, devisees, and other recipients of assets
  • Inventories of the person’s estate items and assets at the time of their death
  • Various court statements (such as petitions for name changes)
  • Other documents, such as those pertaining to securities, stocks, bonds, and real estate

How Can Probate Records Help Resolve Legal Disputes?

Probate records can often help to clarify disputes and contests, especially when it comes to will disputes and property distribution. Many disputes over deeds and titles can be resolved by consulting probate records. The records may contain information regarding previous transfers of title and other transactions.

In addition, probate records can often help in cases involving disputes over ancestry. This is because probate records often contain listings of family heirs, beneficiaries, and family trees. Thus, disputes over inheritances are often resolved through probate record information.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Probate Records?

Searching probate records can be challenging, especially if you are unsure of what exactly you are looking for. You may wish to hire a licensed estates lawyer if you need help searching or examining probate records. Your attorney can help identify information that might be useful in dealing with a legal question or dispute. Also, if you encounter any legal disputes, your attorney can help resolve them and can represent you in court as well.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 08-25-2014 11:35 AM PDT

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