How to Find Out if a Will Exists for Free

A last will and testament is an important legal document that outlines what should be done with someone’s assets once they pass away. Most people write wills with an attorney or advisor before they pass away to ensure that there are no disputes about their holdings. This is important for people who have children, friends, and other family members who will be inheriting money or even personal items.

That said, it can be hard for family members or other people who are close to the deceased to act on a will if they don’t know it exists. Thankfully, we’re here to help. Read on to learn how to find out if a will exists for free.
What Is a Will

A will, or last will and testament, is essentially someone’s last words written in a legal document. Wills are written by people before they pass away to ensure that there is a smooth transition of their wealth once they pass away. This makes it easier for friends, family members, and others who are close to the deceased to lay claim to any assets that the deceased had.

Wills can also include personal wishes, named executors, beneficiaries, and much more. While wills are often written with the help of a lawyer, this isn’t a hard requirement; most simple wills can be written without one.
Is a Will a Public Record?

Wills are a public record, but only after someone passes away. Once someone passes away, wills have to be filed and become a public record. In fact, some states have laws that will get someone in trouble if they try to hide a will from the public. Therefore, anyone can view a will once someone is no longer with us. The only time that a will is not a public record is when someone is still alive. If someone is alive, they don’t have to share their will, but they can still share it with people who ask about it.

3 Ways to Find Out If a Will Exists for Free

Finding out if a will exists doesn’t have to be a complicated process. You can always reach out to friends and family, contact the local court where the person died, or even use third-party public records search tools. Learn more about each option below.

  1. Public Records Search Tools

The best way to find out if a will exists for free is to use a public records search tool. These are tools that allow you to search through public records databases to find anything that’s publicly available. One of the best search tools available is UnMask’s public records search engine.

To use UnMask’s public records search tool to discover if a will exists, all you have to do is enter someone’s first and last name, city, and state. From there, UnMask will do the rest. The whole process takes about 10 minutes, and the search tool will help you comb through death records in each state, so you don’t have to worry about bouncing around to different databases if you’re unsure about what state is holding the will.

  1. Visit the Courthouse Where the Deceased Died

When someone dies, their will has to be filed with a local courthouse for it to become legitimate. Therefore, the local surrogate court where the person died is one of the best places to go if you need to view a will. Since the will is a public record, the court has to let you see a copy of the will. Some courts have databases you can search online, as well as phone numbers you can call to find information about someone’s will.

While visiting or contacting courts is useful, you have to know where the person died. If you don’t, you’ll have to call a lot of courts or waste your time traveling to different surrogate courts. Therefore, it’s best to start with a public records search tool.

  1. Contact Family and Friends of the Deceased

Last but not least, you can contact friends and family of the deceased. Family and friends of the deceased will likely know if a will is available, so you can reach out to them to learn more. You’ll need their contact information, and we recommend going this route if you’re close to the family. If you’re not close with the family or anyone close to the family, this can be an awkward approach or even an impossible one if you don’t have their contact information. In these cases, you’re better off using a public records search tool instead.

Find Out if a Will Exists for Free Today

Finding out if a will exists has never been easier. Plenty of resources are available to help you find someone’s will, but we always recommend using a public records search tool like UnMask. It’s the fastest way to get started and prevents you from having to bounce around to different databases or courth

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