Upon the death of an individual, a family may file an estate in Probate Court. It is not necessary for a person to have a will in order for an estate to be filed, nor does the decedent’s family have to file a copy of the will in Probate Court. A will may also be filed months and sometimes years after the individual dies. Thus, just because a person died in Shelby County does not mean that a will was filed immediately upon death or filed at all.
More recent Probate records can be searched on the Shelby County Probate Court Clerk’s website or by contacting them directly.
Shelby County Probate Court Clerk
140 Adams Ave., Room 124
Memphis, TN 38103
The will book indexes are arranged by the first letter of the last name. Most of the indexes use a first vowel index, however some do not. At the top of every page is the will book number and the dates the book covers. To the right of the decedent’s name is the page number in the book.
In 1977, the Probate Court Clerk changed the style of books they used for wills so that the indexes for book 207 and later are “landscape” instead of “portrait.” For ease of viewing, these books will be accessible in single page views instead of the double page views for the earlier books.