Probate records and wills are court records that deal with the distribution of a person's estate after death. Information in probate records can include the deceased person's death date and occupation; relationships, residences and names of heirs and guardians; an inventory of the estate; and names of witnesses.
Probate records are not usually used for Russian genealogical research. Only individuals who owned property, along with their relatives, were mentioned in probate records. Most farmers, merchants, and artisans did not own their own farms or shops and did not leave wills. Other sources, such as church records and civil registration records, give much of the same information as probate records and cover a larger percentage of the population. In addition, probate records are hard to access.