Information on Wills
The public records like testament documents and last will are permitted for public view. A will is a document which contains the legal declaration of a person or a group of people on the issue of managing his property after his death. A will also contains possible details about intestacy and inheritance. A will may also develop a testamentary trust which may be active only after the death of the testator. Wills are widely important for having an idea of the related genealogical information. It helps you to know the wider network of relationships.
Types of Wills
There are different types of wills. Wills form a subtype of legal records. The general categorization of wills includes:
• Holographic will
• Notarial will
• Mystic will
• Nuncupative will (oral will)
• Unsolemn will
• Serviceman's will
• Mutual will
• Self-proved will
• Will in solemn form
Access to a Will Record
Records and documents on wills are generally maintained by the specific testator, the county court and the nominees. Wills are generally kept in local records offices. Most of these wills are indexed and a lot among these belong to the category of the published indexes. A lot of records offices will provide with data relating to these indexes but details about indexes found in other offices may not be available to you. Records on wills can also be retrieved from the genealogy centers, ancestor search and centers of family history.
The fields that require to be filled in for retrieving a will record is as follows:
• Party name or business name
• City or county wise location
• Type of document
• Related dates
Retrieve information on wills from different county archives. Click on the following link to know more: http://www.archives.gov/research/alic/reference/state-archives.html.
You mail also send your questions at: The National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
The National Archives also provide a good option for investigating will records. Records in here are arranged and compiled according to the county and then by the church court. You can order your records directly by post or obtain the photocopy from the state head office. Details that are generally rendered include relevant dates, where they are maintained and information on indexes.
Some of the common terminologies that you might come across while searching for a will include testate, abstract, bequeath, deed codicil, bequest , descendant, testamentary letters, probate, devise, devisee, inheritor, feme sole, grant, legacy, testator and few more.
Accessing will records does not’t mean that you have to be a part of the family of the deceased person. Due to various reasons individuals like past business associates and creditors may require knowing about a will before contesting it. Follow a few simple steps to track down the required document-
• Carefully confirm the death of the person and the relevant dates. Verify further from the county office or the health department for vital statistics. However, death certificates may not be always available to you.
• To confirm the date of the person’s death check through newspaper archives which used to serve the communities which he was a part of. Once you are done with that, scan the death notices and published obituaries which have appeared with a week of the death. The obituaries often bear information like- date, place and relatives related to the person.
• If you find that the will is not recorded in the county where the burial of the deceased person or his residence is located, look through the counties where his relatives are based.
• The probate courts should be contacted for the retrieving the necessary documents. Always remember that a will is not a public record until the person dies. Some courts may not allow you to view the wills but in that case you can look through the court filings and get some details.