The Washington County Probate Court was established to determine the legitimacy of Last Wills and Testaments, as well as the distribution of estates. Over the years, the role of the county probate court has changed to include the following legal procedures:
- Adoptions of Minors and Adults
- Guardianships of Minors and Adults
- Conservatorships of Minors and Adults
- Name Changes
Washington County Probate Court is staffed by a part-time Judge and a full-time Register, a Deputy Register, and a Clerk/Secretary. The Judge and Register are elected every four years. The staff is appointed by the Register.
The Probate Judge sits without a jury presiding over all Adoptions, Guardianships, Conservatorships, Name Changes, Trusts and estates which require a hearing. Hearings are scheduled for two Tuesdays a month but are also held on an as needed basis.
As well as supporting all of the Court’s functions, the Registry’s staff maintains and records the probate documents. The Register has quasi-judiciary powers and is authorized to conduct Informal probate proceedings. While the staff does not give legal advice and recommends those seeking legal advice to contact an attorney, this office does sell forms for the probate proceedings.
We are part of maineprobate.net - a comprehensive website containing records of all 16 of the Probate Courts in Maine. We have scanned and entered present probate documents back to 2005 and are back scanning as time allows.
The Washington County Registry of Probate maintains all the records of the Probate Court for Washington County from 1785 until present.
Washington County Probate records from 2007 onward are now available at www.maineprobate.net, a website for all 16 Maine Registries of Probate.
The documents on file include probated estates (wills, letters testimony, inventories, etc), Adoptions, Guardianships of Minors and Adults, Conservatorships of Minors and Adults, Trusts, and Name Changes. All records are open to the public except the Adoption records after September 1953.
This office houses the original Census Books of 1850, 1860 and 1870. Genealogists prefer to use them instead of national microfilmed copies which are often handwritten copies of handwritten copies. In some instances the microfilmed copies of copies contain errors such as misspelled or omitted names.
Our staff also assists the public in accessing Washington County’s collection of newspapers, the largest of its kind in the State, including some newspapers that are found nowhere else. Currently more than half of these newspapers are on microfilm located in our office together with a microfilm reader-printer.
Finally, our office sells reproductions of the 1881 Washington County Atlas.
We do not maintain records of marriage or death. These records are maintained by the individual towns although many records have been placed on file with the state archives in Augusta.