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What do I need to know?

You can order either a digital copy immediately, or if ordering the paper record you will need to order it ahead of time before visiting the Victorian Archives Centre. 

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 both the Will and the Probate file. You will see more than one search result relating to the person you are looking for.
•   Before 1909, you may need to order three files as the Probate part may be split between two consignments (VPRS 28/P0 and VPRS 28/P2).  Again, request all the records that match the person or file number you seek.

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.

    Next Steps

    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.

    How does ordering work?

    View the 'How to order a record' video below before calling us for assistance. This will show you how to complete a digital copy order, or if you wish to view the original.  You MUST order the record first before visiting the centre because retrieving the record takes a day.  Note: You must order via a computer not a mobile. 

    To view other video instructions on how to order records go to our Researcher Resources page:

    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

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.

    PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples