What do I need to know?

Wills and Probate records are two different documents.

Search below using the surname and given name/s of the deceased. For common names, an approximate date of death is also useful. 

For wills and probate close probate Definition A legal process or document that validates a will after someone dies, and authorises an executor for their estate. records that are not online, you can photograph the record for free in the Reading Room. 

 

    How do I search?

    Enter a partial or full name in the search below. You will need to search for both Wills and Probate records separately, simply return to this page to search for the two items. 

    Only some wills and probate records are online:

    • for records 1841-1925, view online
    • for records 1926-2015 order online first and note down the item close item Definition An item is a single recordkeeping object. A physical Item could be a group of pages fastened together to form a file, a single volume, card, map, photograph, film, sound recording, computer tape or any other document. Within a series there may be only one physical record Item or there may be several thousand or more. You can order physical Items for viewing in one of our reading rooms. number. After 1994 search only the Probate records (Wills were added to the file)
    • view the records in the Reading Room for free 
    • or pay for a copy to be emailed to you or posted to you. 

    About these records

    Wills are a legal document in which a person can give instructions on how their property should be distributed after they die, and naming executors to do this on their behalf.

    Probate documents are created by the Supreme Court to record how the will was verified and the estate ultimately distributed by the executors.

    The Court also issues letters of administration when the deceased left no will or new executors had to be named.

    Next Steps

    Not there? There are several reasons why you might not find an individual in the index close index Definition Often an alphabetised or other sequential list that refers to records arranged in a different, less accessible sequence. Often one index will point you to a number you may need to access an item in a related set of records. (see also nominal index, numerical index and subject index). – the most common are:

    • the process of granting probate has not yet been completed (it can take several years, or on rare occasions, decades after death) - check with the Supreme Court whether the will and/or probate has been granted
    • the estate was not of a size or complexity that required probate to be granted.
    • probates administered from January 2016 onward are still with the Supreme Court of Victoria.

    What are in these records?

    A Will is a single document, usually containing:

    • instructions for the distribution of a person’s property after their death
    • names of executors
    • name and address of the deceased

    Probates and letters of administration usually contain:

    • a list of the deceased’s assets and liabilities
    • an affidavit (sworn statement) of the executor / administrator containing evidence of their lawful distribution of the estate

    They may also contain:

    • a will (original or copy) of the deceased
    • affidavits of attesting witnesses
    • documents providing proof of death and accounts relating to the estate