Missouri Probate Records

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United States  Gotoarrow.png  Missouri  Gotoarrow.png  Probate Records

Record Synopsis

Probate is the “court procedure by which a will is proved to be valid or invalid” and encompasses “all matters and proceedings pertaining to the administration of estates, guardianships, etc.”[1] Various types of records are created throughout the probate process. These may include, wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distributions. These documents are extremely valuable to genealogists and should not be neglected. In many instances, they are the only known source of relevant information such as the decedent’s date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their places of residence. They may also include information about adoption or guardianship of minor children and dependents. For further information about the probate process, types of probate records, analyzing probate records, and to access a glossary of probate terms, see United States Probate Records.


State Statutes



  • Probate matters in Missouri have usually been recorded by the clerks of the probate courts, but in some counties the common pleas or circuit courts handled this function. The records include wills, administrator bonds, and estate inventories. They are frequently indexed. You can obtain copies by contacting the probate judge in each county.



  • The Family History Library located in Salt Lake City, Utah has Missouri probate records available on microfilm. For collection details see the Family History Library Catalog. Use the "Place Search" option to search for a specific Missouri county. Then look for topics labeled "Probate Records" or "Guardianship."

    The library's records generally date from the creation of the county to about 1925. For example, the library has 71 films for Jackson County that include:
Wills and other records (1828-1917)
Bonds (1868-1923)
Letters (1876-1955)
Guardians' records (1871-1898)
Inventories (1881-1915)
Real estate sales (1890-1918)
For many counties, abstracts of the earliest wills have been published, and copies are available at major archives and the Family History Library.

Statewide Record Collections

A statewide index to Missouri probate records has not been compiled.

Learn More

Published Materials


  • Missouri State Archives
    State Information Center
    P.O. Box 778
    Jefferson City, MO 65102
    Tel: 573-751-3280


  1. Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed. (St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Co., 1979), 1081, "probate."