Ordering a Will – Updated!

Ordering a will

You may ask, why do I need to order one? Well, it is entirely up to you and your organization. You may wish to find out who will be in charge of family assets after your donor has died. It is also possible that you need information on the capacity of a surviving spouse. Foundations may be created in a will.

Probated wills and their associated documents such as inventories are public documents. You may legally look at them. Of note, a recent change to the probate rules now lets families file an affidavit indicating that an inventory has been filed.  This means that the inventory contents are not now available to view – at least not online.  Stay tuned. There may be a field trip to the courthouse to check on this detail.  Older inventories are still available to view.

Use your best judgment and code of confidentiality. As with any research, you should guard the privacy of your constituents at all times. Wills let you who controls the estate’s assets. Inventories let you know what those assets are and frequently their appraised value. Wills are available usually about two weeks after the date of probate. Inventories are typically filed within 120 or 90 days after a will has been probated. Copies of probated wills and inventories “live” where the legal document has been probated. If your donor died in Houston, it is likely their will was probated here in Harris County. There are fees associated with the acquisition of these documents but they are nominal as a rule. You may also go to the probate department to view the documents if you don’t want to purchase copies.

For wills filed in Harris County: Call  (713) 274-8585 (Probate Court Records).

The search function on the Harris County Clerk Probate Court Department now allows the user to search by name and does not require the docket number.  If you want to obtain the docket number, you may use Courthouse Direct or the probate database to get it. Here are the URLs: