Probate Court

What is Probate?

Probate is a court proceeding by which a will is proved valid or invalid.

The term is used to mean all proceedings pertaining to the administration of estates, such as the process by which assets are:
  • Gathered
  • Applied to pay debts, taxes, and expenses of administration
  • Distributed to those designated as beneficiaries in the will
In general, the probate court:
  • Probates the wills of deceased persons
  • Establishes guardianships for incapacitated persons and minors
  • Supervises the administration of the estates of deceased persons and incapacitated persons and minors
  • Hears matters involving inter-vivos, testamentary, and charitable trusts
  • Hears all cases involving civil mental health commitments
The probate court also has jurisdiction to hear lawsuits appertaining to or incident to an estate of a decedent or ward and actions by or against a personal representative of an estate of a decedent or ward.

It is common for the court to hear any type of civil litigation, including personal injury, property damage, breach of fiduciary duty, and family law.

The probate court is charged with the responsibility of independently maintaining contact with every person under a guardianship each year. This is done through court visitor programs developed and maintained by the court.