Author: Kate Follington

Probate records processed through the Supreme Court in 2016 are now available to view or copy via Public Record Office Victoria's website. Public Record Office Victoria regularly receives thousands of 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 have been filed with the Supreme Court. The records also include a will, where one has been lodged as part of the case.

The Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction to make orders that enable the administration of deceased estates by either the grant of probate for a valid will or a letter of administration in instances the deceased did not leave a will.
   
Wills and Probate records are open to the public and anybody can apply to view or receive a copy of those records. 

"PROV has received around 20,000 probate records from the Supreme Court for cases heard in each of the last 5 calendar years. Not all estates need to be processed by the Supreme Court, one reason being the complexity of the estate," said Jack Martin, the Co-ordinator of Collection Management at Public Record Office Victoria. Jack's team handles the physical transfer of the records. 

It's a very simple process to search and order close order Definition Physical records can be ordered for viewing in PROV’s reading rooms.  When a user orders a record, it is reserved solely for their use. a copy of the Probate records, and any other documents which determined the settling of a person's estate. 

 

To order a copy of a Probate record 

  • Search by name on our Wills and Probate topic page
  • Order the record via our catalogue if you'd like to view the record in our reading room close reading room Definition Area set aside at PROV centres for public access to records and research (formerly known as ‘search rooms’). Visit the Contact us page for more. the next day 
  • Note down the citation close citation Definition A formal reference used to identify a record, or part of a record, within a publication, research or research notes. details which appear on the result if you'd like a copy
  • Fill out the online order form on the Wills and Probate topic page and include the record's citation details. 

Wills and Probate records are an important archive for family history research as they often mention the names of family members or close friends, but they are also of interest for researchers writing about historic figures, or those curious about how property may have been transferred between hands.