How do you know if a Will went through probate?

UPDATED: Aug 24, 2011

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How do you know if a Will went through probate?

I have mineral rights that we are trying to confirm. I have a copy of an unsigned Will of my father-in-law and my mother-in-law’s Will did not list these rights as the wells were drilled in 1952 and were thought to be emptied, prior to her second marriage. A utility wants to obtain the leases. I believe his Will went through probate in 1976. How do I confirm that?

Asked on August 24, 2011 California


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If their Wills went through the probate process then you would go to the Probate court in the county in which they resided at the time of their death and see of the files still exist.  Probate courts do save them but you never know.  A last Will and Testament is a public record and once it is filed any one can take a look at it.  Now as I understand this your Father in Law pre-deceased your Mother in Law.  Would not the rights have passed to her by operation of law (they were jointly owned) at the time of is death?  Please take both Wills to an attorney to review (if you think that this is the Will of his that went through probate) to see what you next step should be  Good luck.  

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