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What is a Probate Court?

Probate court is the division of the court that usually deals with estates, wills, and the assets left behind when a person dies. Probate court records are extensive and full of interesting information not only about the people you deal with everyday, but also about people that lived before you were born.

If you are interested in researching your family roots, a perusal of probate court records will prove to be invaluable. Probate court records can tell you all the things about your great grandparents that your own parents might not have known. You can often learn about marriages, divorces, and even lawsuits that they may have been involved in. Probate court records deal with your ancestors’ estates and that could help you in your research by giving you clues to properties that your family owned. Once you have the information about property that probate court records provide, you can start to search census reports that you would have never found. Probate court records can sometimes tell you if any of your family members were adopted or ever went under different names.

Probate court records are more than just a way to research the past. The information contained in probate court records can be put to use in your everyday life. With a quick search through probate court records, you can learn exactly what your rich great aunt left to your parents, who the executor of her will was, and how much money she really had. You can even research if the will was contested and who it was contested by.

Probate court records can help you to learn the truth about someone when you think that they are being less than forward with information. If you are suspicious about the claims of someone you just met, a search through probate court records could confirm your suspicions. A simple search of a few probate court documents could tell you everything you need to know about an inheritance that someone claims to have received. It can also give you information about the exact contents of an estate, or the exact dimensions of a property you are considering for purchase.

You can even search through probate court records to find out if someone has ever gone by a different name or who their family members are. A will often names many members of a family as beneficiaries, so researching probate court records could give you clues to family members you didn’t know a person had.

Probate court keeps extensive records of information that is not only interesting, but could prove to be very valuable. When you are looking for background information on an individual, probate court records are a great place to begin your search.

Dr. Amit Mehta is a writer for, a large online database that provides unrestricted instant access to probate court records.