District Court (Fifth District : Washington County) Will record books
These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.
An agency history is available.
Scope and Content
Legislators at the second Utah Territorial Legislative Assembly organized probate courts in each of Utah's counties and endowed these courts with the right to exercise jurisdiction in the probate of wills and the administration of estates of deceased persons (Laws of Utah, Chapter 42, 1852). The assembly clarified the manner in which estates should be settled. By law any person of full age and of sound mind could dispose of all of his property by will, with the exception that sufficient first be withheld to pay any outstanding debts. The signatures of two competent witnesses in addition to the testator validated a completed will. The law provided that wills could be sealed and deposited with the clerk of the probate court where they would be preserved until the death of the testator. Otherwise, any person having custody of a will could bring it into the court at the death of the testator. The law stated that if the court allowed and attested the will, it should be carried into effect (Compiled Laws of Utah, 1876, Title 14, chapter 1, sections 1-6).
Volumes one and two are transcribed by hand while volumes four, five, and six are typed transcriptions. Regardless of the medium and complexity of the case, each will follows a similar format. It states that the testator meets the requirement of being of sound mind and legal age. It names who the testator desires to be the executor of his estate. It enumerates the testator's property and designates whom he wishes to inherit each item. Volume three contains preprinted forms created by the court. These were available by 1903 though Washington County used them for only a dozen cases and most of these cases are also available as handwritten transcriptions of the will in volume two. The preprinted forms each contain an Order Appointing Time for Probate of Will, Testimonies of Subscribing Witnesses on Probate of Will, Testimony of Applicant on Probate of Will, Order Admitting Will to Probate, Executor Bond, Oath of Sureties, Letters Testamentary, Letters of Administration with Will Annexed, Order Appointing Appraisers, Decree Showing that Due and Legal Notice to Creditors has been given, and a Final Discharge of Executor.
Chronological by date.
Probate case files from the District Court (Fifth District : Washington County), Series 3636, contains the complete case files associated with the wills in these record books.
Probate registers of action from the District Court (Fifth District : Washington County), Series 18217, can be used in conjunction with this series to determine the exact dates for court proceedings.
This series is classified as Public.
Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.
This series was archivally processed by Jim Kichas and Michael McLane in November 2007 as part of a NHPRC grant project designed to preserve the historic records of Utah's Fifth District Courts.
Indexes: An alphabetical index is located at the beginning of each book,.
Page Last Updated October 18, 2012.