What do I need to know?
Probates administered from approximately January 2020 onward are still with the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Search below using the surname and given name/s of the deceased to find a Will and Probate or Administration file.
• After 1994, Wills were placed in the Probate file, and you only need to order one record (the 'Probate' file).
• Before 1994, Wills were not placed in the Probate file, and you need to order the Will and the Probate file. You will often see more than one result relating to the person you are looking for.
• To obtain the complete probate or administration file until 1909 you will probably need to order two files.
Note that if you request a copy of a record, in most cases we will image the record in full and publish it on our catalogue.
How do I search?
Enter a partial or full name in the search below. For common names, a year of death is also useful. Try different spelling variations, or think about how a name might have been misspelt.
Sort by date ascending on the top right hand side of the results page.
Note: Only some wills and probate records are digitised:
• records 1841-1925 can be viewed online;
• records 1926- January 2020 can be ordered to view at North Melbourne;
• View and photograph the records in the Reading Room for free;
• Or, request a copy be emailed or posted to you (fees apply) on your selections page.
Digitisation of these records is ongoing; the next batch that will be digitised and published online will be for the period 1926-1950.
About these records
A will is a legal document in which a person can give instructions on how their property should be distributed after they die, and naming executors to do this on their behalf.
A probate file contains documents received or created by the Supreme Court to verify the will and issue the grant of probate that authorises the executors named in it to distribute the estate.
An administration file contains documents received or created by the Supreme Court to issue the grant of letters of administration that authorises the distribution of the estate in cases where the deceased left no will or new executors had to be named.
A deceased’s estate consists of real estate and / or personal property and debts that need to be managed and finalised.
Not there? There are several reasons why you might not find an individual in the index – the most common are:
• The process of granting probate or letters of administration has not yet been completed (it can take several years, or on rare occasions, decades after death). Check with the Supreme Court whether the order of probate or letters of administration has been granted.
• The estate was not of a size or complexity that required an order of probate or letters of administration to be granted.
• The deceased did not own any assets in Victoria.
• Around 95% of probates administered from January 2020 onward are still with the Supreme Court of Victoria.
What are in these records?
A will is a single document, usually containing:
• Instructions for the distribution of a person’s property after their death
• Names of executors
• Name and address of the deceased
A probate file or administration file usually contains:
• A list of the deceased’s assets and liabilities
• An affidavit (sworn statement) of the executor / administrator containing evidence of their lawful distribution of the estate
• The actual grant of probate or letters of administration
They may also contain:
• Affidavits of attesting witnesses
• Documents providing proof of death and accounts relating to the estate
A probate file may also contain a will (original or copy) of the deceased.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.
Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting.
PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples.