When you speak to an attorney about the estate of a loved one, the first thing that he or she will ask you is if the estate has been opened. This is a crucial question that determines many things about possible representation. Many people that I speak to are unable to answer this question. It might be because the decedent is a distant sibling or aunt. It might be that siblings are confused in thinking that one of them has already opened the estate. Regardless of the circumstances, Missouri provides a great free way to easily determine if an estate has been opened. The following steps will help you figure out if an estate has been opened for a deceased friend or relative.
• Go to https://www.courts.mo.gov/casenet/base/welcome.do or Google case net.
• Click the link titled Litigant Name Search.
• You will be taken to a screen where you can input the decedent’s information. If it is a common name, I recommend including a middle initial. It is also a good idea to narrow your search by selecting Probate in the Case Type tab.
• If you receive a message in red that states that your query returned no matches, then no estate has been opened.
• If you see the name you’ve searched for, you can click on the blue case number to view the case.
• Once there, you can look at the filings and the parties involved in the case. If you notice something that doesn’t seem right or is odd or confusing, please don’t hesitate to contact my office to see what I can do for you.