Are probate court records available to the public? Estate planning and probate attorney Sarah Siedentopf has the answer, in Siedentopf Law’s latest video.
TRANSCRIPT: Hi, I’m Sarah Siedentopf. I’m an estate planning and probate attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. This week, I’ve got more of a “Did you know?” Did you know that probate court records are public record? What this means is that if something is filed in probate court, say a will — maybe family member’s will, a neighbor’s will, a stranger’s will — here in Georgia, you can go down and get a copy of it. This particular thing is one reason that people like trusts because you have to probate a will, which equals filing it in probate court, which means that strangers, friends, relatives, neighbors — anyone — can get a copy of it if they want to. Now, let’s say that you in fact want a copy of something. Many of the probate courts in Georgia are moving toward online records. I think in the near future there may be all courts but right now many of them have some records online which might just be a search function so you could find out that so-and-so’s probate had been opened but you might still have to go to the court to actually see the records. But, depending on the county, you might actually be able to see those records online. So, if you’re wondering whether probate court records are public record, the answer is yes, and sometimes very easily and sometimes with a minimum of effort you can see them. Again, this is a reason that some people decide that they would like to avoid probate. But if you’re looking for probate court records, you just have to go out and get them. If you’ve got any questions, let me know. Thanks.
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