Probate, the legal proceedings used to confirm a will and settle a person's final affairs, goes through a division of the county circuit court system in Virginia. Wills that have been through probate become a matter of public record in the state, and you can get a copy of the original will from the circuit court that oversaw the legal proceedings. You can use a will copy for various things, including genealogical research and probate challenges.
Locate the Virginia Circuit Court that held the estate probate proceedings. Contact the probate divisions of each Virginia Circuit Court with jurisdiction over an area the deceased lived or owned real estate in if you do not know the probate location. Visit the official website of the Virginia Judicial System to view state circuit court locations (see Resources).
Ask the circuit court clerk what you need to do to request a will search in each circuit court. Follow all instructions. Some Virginia counties require a mailed written request and charge a small fee to check, while others may tell you if the will is there over the phone. Fees vary by county.
Visit the clerk's office of the probate division of the Virginia Circuit Court you located. Request a copy of the will. Copy fees vary by county but typically do not exceed $1 per page.
You cannot look at the filed wills of living persons or persons without any estate proceedings or death certificate on file in Virginia.
- Hanover County, Virginia: Administration of Estates
- Fauquier County, Virginia: Wills and Estates
- New York State Unified Court System. "Last Will and Testament." Accessed April 8, 2020.
- Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara. "About Probate - How to Probate a Decedent's Estate." Accessed April 8, 2020.
- Middlesex County New Jersey. "Surrogate." Accessed April 8, 2020.
- Hawaii State Judiciary. "Circuit Court Filing Fees and Costs," Page 2. Accessed April 8, 2020.
- Middlesex County New Jersey. "FAQ Surrogate - How Can I Get a Copy of a Will?" Accessed April 8, 2020.
- Huber Law Group. "Obtaining Records." Accessed April 8, 2020.
- You cannot look at the filed wills of living persons or persons without any estate proceedings or death certificate on file in Virginia.
Anna Assad began writing professionally in 1999 and has published several legal articles for various websites. She has an extensive real estate and criminal legal background. She also tutored in English for nearly eight years, attended Buffalo State College for paralegal studies and accounting, and minored in English literature, receiving a Bachelor of Arts.