Researching your Victorian ancestors

A guide to family history research using the major Victorian resources

Wills & probate records - Victorian

A will is the indication of how a person wished his/her estate to be disposed of at death. Probate is the judicial determination of the validity of a will.  Wills should always be probated in each state where real estate property was held.

When a person dies without leaving a valid will, particularly when property is left, in most cases letters of administration will be issued by a court appointed administrator.

There is no central archive of  Australian wills and related documents. Collections are held in each state, in either the relevant state archives office or at the Supreme Court registry.

Accessing Victorian wills and probate documents

 

1841-2016

The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV)  hold Wills and Probate files that have been administered by the Victorian Probate office from 1841 to 2014, and some 2015 records for matters which commenced in 2014 or earlier.

1841-1925
Wills and probate records created between 1841 and 1925 have been indexed and digitised and are available online free of charge.

1926-2016
Wills and probate records created between 1926 – 2016 have been indexed but have not been digitised.

Search for 1926-2016 records through the online Wills and Probate indexes. You can then either view the records in the PROV North Melbourne Reading Room for free or pay for a copy to be emailed or posted to you.

2017-

 

Grants of representation filed with the Court on, or after, 1 January 2017, are stored at the Supreme Court of Victoria Probate Office. Fees apply to search a file and photocopy any documents.

Further information can be found on the Supreme Court of Victoria, Wills & Probate website.

Further inquiries

Further inquiries should be directed to the Public Record Office Victoria’s Help Desk

Tel:         1800 657 452 (toll free in Australia)
Email:    
enquiries@prov.vic.gov.au

 

Probate Applications: Caveat and Wills Indices

Electronic Applications and Caveat & Wills Indices have replaced all index books formerly located in the Probate Office.
Search the Application Index  (from January 1970 onwards), the Caveat Index and the Wills Index by going to the Supreme Court's Probate Registers website.

Wills & probate records - other states

Go to Graham Jaunay's website How to locate Australian wills for a list of available indexes and online resources.
 

Australian
Capital Territory


Supreme Court Registry
4 Knowles Place
Canberra ACT 2601

Telephone: (02) 6207 1786

Wills and probate - forms

New South Wales

1817-1976, and 1989 (part of)

Early probate packets are kept at the State Records, NSW.
Various indexes are available. For further information consult the guide:
Archives in brief 119 - How to find probate and deceased estates.

The Supreme Court of NSW holds probate packets for the last 40 years

Supreme Court of New South Wales
GPO Box 3
Sydney NSW 2001

Telephone: 1300 679 272

Northern Territory

Probate index - 1885-1941

Probate Clerk
Supreme Court of the Northern Territory
State Square
Darwin NT 0800

Telephone: (08) 8999 6562

Queensland

Various online indexes available.
See: Queensland State Archives Brief guide 19 - Will and intestacy records

The Registrar
Supreme Court of Queensland
George Street
Brisbane QLD 4000

Telephone: Estates (probates) (07) 3247 5365

South Australia


Probate Registry
Supreme Court of South Australia
301 King William Street
Adelaide SA 5000

Telephone: (08) 8204 0505

Tasmania   


Probate Registry
Supreme Court of Tasmania
Salamanca Place
Hobart TAS 7000

Telephone: (03) 6233 3716

Western Australia

See: Information sheet: Grants of probate (wills) and letters of administration

Probate Office
Supreme Court of Western Australia
14th floor 111 Georges Street
Perth WA 6000

Telephone: (08) 9421 5152

State Library Victoria

LIBRARY CLOSURE  

As of Monday 16 March 2020 our Library buildings are closed to the public due to the rapidly changing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

Our Ask A Librarian  reference service is still available to assist with your research inquiries.