How Do I Determine If a Probate (or Guardianship) for a Named Decedent (or Incapacitated Person) Has Been Filed in Washington?
- By Internet
- By Telephone
- In Person
- For a Fee
A. By Internet
B. By Telephone
- In King County: Telephone the King County Superior Court Clerk’s Office — 206 296-9300 — and they will tell you over the phone.
- In Other Counties: Telephone the Superior Court Clerk’s Office of that county and ask. Telephone Numbers
C. In Person
At the King County Courthouse:
- Go to Clerk’s Office, on the Sixth Floor, anytime from 8:30 AM to 4:15 PM weekdays except Court holidays.
- Upon entering the office, turn right and walk down to the end of the hall.
- At the end and on the right hand side is a bank of computers underneath a sign reading “Search for Case Numbers from 1979 – Present (SCOMIS).” These are the SCOMIS Computers, on which you can perform a SCOMIS search at no charge. Upon entering a person’s name, the type of case (probate & guardianship cases are type 4), and one of the 39 Washington counties, you can determine if that person was a party in any Superior Court case in that county (at least since 1993; in King County, since July 2, 1979), with the results shown in terms of:
- The name of the case,
- Its case number,
- The type of case, and
- Its disposition.
Remember that SCOMIS searches are performed on a county-wide basis, so if you want a state-wide search, you will need to perform 39 searches on the same name, one for each of Washington’s 39 counties.
SCOMIS Computers are also available to the public at no charge in the Clerk’s Office at the Regional Justice Center, in Kent.
For further information, see The Washington Court Database & How to Access It.
D. For a Fee
WaCourtsOnline.com will perform a statewide, one-name, SCOMIS search for $8.95.
Two limitations to these searches are:
- Because the searches are on SCOMIS, they are limited to the data available on SCOMIS. Every county in Washington began entering its data on SCOMIS on its own date. For King County, that was July 2, 1979. So, for example, SCOMIS searches in King County will only yield data back to July 2, 1979. To obtain earlier data, you would need to search the King County files directly.
- Some Court cases are ordered by the Court to be “sealed”, ie, made unavailable for public inspection, and other cases, although not sealed themselves, contain specific documents that have been ordered by the Court to be sealed.
- Sealed cases remain available on SCOMIS, although their contents are unavailable. What this means in a probate case, for example, is that you can verify that there has been a probate filed for a certain named Decedent, but that its file has been sealed and no further information is available, such as the name of the Personal Representative.
- Sealed documents in unsealed cases are unavailable, but all other, unsealed documents in the case are available.