The Villages Genealogical Society
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Probate records are often overlooked in some family histories. They may show relationships, financial status and life stories of your ancestors.
Probate records refer to wills, inventories, letters of administration and guardianship. They are usually held at the county courthouse unless archived and they are indexed by the name of the testator.
There are three types of wills: Attested, Holographic and Nuncupative. The attested will is the most common and is prepared for the testator. A holographic will is written by the testator himself. A nuncupative will is the deathbed wishes of the testator, recorded by a witness present at the bedside. All wills must be witnessed.
A person who dies "Testate" dies with a will. A person who dies "Intestate" dies without a will.
An "executor" is named by the testator and is required by the court to post a bond. An "administrator" is appointed to handle the affairs of one who dies intestate (without a will).
A widow's dower is her claim to a portion of her deceased husband's estate during her lifetime for her and her children's support.
A bequest is a legacy, usually a gift of real estate by will.
A Codicil is a supplemental document to a will.
An Inventory is a verified list of property owned by the decedent. Contents may help determine occupation or financial status.
A Guardianship represent individuals appointed by the court to oversee the affairs of a minor. It can also be used to oversee a business or a person incapable of handling their own affairs.