If a death certificate has been filed, can I find out if there was a Will?

And how?

Asked on October 27, 2011 under Estate Planning, Michigan


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  The filing of a death certificate does not necessarily mean that there is a Last Will and Testament for the decedent or that one has been filed with the court.  But if there is a probate proceeding of any kind filed then it would be filed in the Probate Court in the County in which the decedent legally resided at the time of his or her death.  Once a Probate proceeding is filed then the matter becomes a public record, meaning that you can view the file at any time.  There can be a probate proceeding even if someone dies "intestate" - with out a Will - in order to distribute their assets to their next of kin.  Each state has an intestacy statute that governs distribution.  Good luck. 

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