Overwhelmed By Paperwork, Probate Judge Looks Forward To Technology Upgrade

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - When you walk into the Madison County Probate Judge's office, it's clear: files dominate the space.
"The courthouse is just not big enough for all the paper," said Probate Judge Tommy Ragland.

In addition to walls of shelves and a row of rolling cabinets, the office stores files in a record room on the third floor of the courthouse, and an overflow in the courthouse basement.

"All of this, all of that over there has been since 2005," said Ragland, motioning to the rows of filing shelves. "Our county is growing, we have a lot of documents to come in here."

Ragland says they will soon adopt a system to digitize every single one of their more than 60,000 files.

"We're digitizing the deeds, mortgages, documents that come in now, and that's what we'll do with these estate records," said Ragland.

On day one with the new system, they will start digitizing any new files that come in. Eventually, Ragland says, they will begin the long and arduous process of digitizing the years worth of files in storage.

Ragland says attorneys and the general public will benefit from the online system, which will be free for the public to access.

Best of all, Ragland says, it will save the Probate office employees time, money, and stress.

"They can't take anything away, see? People can't misfile it. It's all right there in the computer."