Are Wills a Matter of Public Record? Wills are public record however the procedure one would go about obtaining them may be different from state to state. Here are some tips to help you with your search.
The first logical step to obtain a copy of a will would be to contact a relative of the deceased or someone who was on the will that is wanted. If this leads to no success, contacting your local courthouse would be the next option for obtaining or reviewing the contents of a will. This can be done by phone call or in person. Wills may also be found with a web search but only if the county that holds the will keeps this information copied online.
Researching to find a will can be a long tedious process if you are not sure of where or how to begin. My first suggestion is to ask someone in the probate or clerk of courts office exactly what the process is to find a will. They will be able to walk you through all of the steps. Be sure to ask for paper if necessary to take notes. They will be able to offer direct search information as well as tips and the best way to start. These professionals have been performing these types of serarches for years and are very knowledgeable.
Another option to obtain a public will would be to pay someone to do the research for you. There are companies online that will do the searching for you to help you find a particular will. One company is US Gen Web usgenweb.com. These volunteers have the resources necessary to obtain information from all over and they handle this research gathering on a daily basis. Keep in mind however that since this service is volunteer based that your particular decedent's will may or may not be present.
If you are open to pay, you can try Gov Court Records.Their resources also contain paid subscriptions to databases, usually world wide. A final suggestion to obtain a public will would be to contact the lawyer that handled the matter. They should be able to offer up a copy, depending on how long it has been since the death. They may charge a small fee for this service. Some may even refuse to give you a copy depending on your purpose and intent of this matter. Choosing one of these options will help you locate a public record will.