probate

noun
pro·​bate | \ ˈprō-ˌbāt How to pronounce probate (audio) , British also -bit \

Definition of probate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the action or process of proving before a competent judicial authority that a document offered for official recognition and registration as the last will and testament of a deceased person is genuine broadly : the process of administering an estate
b : the judicial determination of the validity of a will
2 : the officially authenticated copy of a probated will
3a : a court with jurisdiction over determination of the validity of wills and administration of estates and sometimes matters involving minors or adults judged incompetent : probate court filed a petition in probate
b : legal matters that fall under the jurisdiction of a probate court a law practice limited to probate

probate

verb
pro·​bate | \ ˈprō-ˌbāt How to pronounce probate (audio) \
probated; probating

Definition of probate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to establish (a will) by probate as genuine and valid
2 : to put (a convicted offender) on probation

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

Ever since people have written wills, those wills have had to be proven genuine by a judge. Without a probate process, greedy acquaintances or relatives could write up a fake will stating that all the person's wealth belonged to them. To establish a will as genuine, it must generally be witnessed and stamped by someone officially licensed to do so (though wills have sometimes been approved even when they were just written on a piece of scrap paper, with no witnesses). Today we use probate more broadly to mean everything that's handled in probate court, a special court that oversees the handling of estates (the money and property left when someone dies), making sure that everyone eventually receives what is properly theirs.

Examples of probate in a Sentence

Noun Her will was offered for probate by the relatives. The case will now go to probate. Verb The court will probate the will.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Municipal candidates now file paper reports with their county probate judge. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "New Alabama law will make it easier to track campaign funds for city candidates," 3 May 2021 This probate process becomes even more complex due to the variance of the nuances from locality to locality. Randy Warren, Forbes, "Inheritance Isn’t All Joy – 5 Steps To Avoid The Pain For You And Your Portfolio," 8 Apr. 2021 In all, the Massachusetts Republican Committee spent $136,405 on print advertisements, mailers, and other materials supporting Stephanie Fattman‘s reelection campaign as Worcester County’s register of probate. BostonGlobe.com, "A senator donated $137,000 to the state GOP. The party then spent that same amount aiding his wife’s campaign," 10 Apr. 2021 Also, the assets avoid probate and are protected from creditors in the event your beneficiaries are sued. orlandosentinel.com, "Use emergency fund to pay for new AC," 25 Mar. 2021 Jefferson County probate and tax records show the purchase price was $8.5 million. al, "Highlands College’s move to ex-HealthSouth headquarters U.S. 280 campus approved," 23 Mar. 2021 Here’s a closer look at probate, the legal process of settling and transferring the estate of someone who has died. Dallas News, "Motley Fool: Bristol Myers Squibb has plenty of potential blockbuster drugs in the pipeline," 25 Oct. 2020 During the first two months of the helpline’s operation, 50% of the calls dealt with housing issues, 15% with employment, and the remaining 35% with an assortment of questions related to immigration, business, probate and other family matters. David Buice, Dallas News, "SMU Dedman School of Law offers a free helpline for COVID-related legal issues," 14 Dec. 2020 The circuit clerk is a non-judicial officer responsible for all of the official records of the court filed in Kendall County, including child support, traffic, probate and criminal court. Linda Girardi, chicagotribune.com, "Two square off in Kendall County circuit clerk race," 25 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The locality that will probate the estate is likely unique as well. Randy Warren, Forbes, "Inheritance Isn’t All Joy – 5 Steps To Avoid The Pain For You And Your Portfolio," 8 Apr. 2021 Your original attorney does not have first dibs to probate your will or to handle the appeal of your case. Dallas News, "It is 20 years later: Do you know where your lawyer is?," 24 May 2020 D’Adrien Anderson, 24, also was sentenced to an additional six-month jail term probated for two years and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and $1,565 in restitution to Blue Bell Creameries, which had to replace all of its products in the freezer. USA TODAY, "Stolen turtle, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, amazing avalanche survivor: News from around our 50 states," 6 Mar. 2020 To not probate the estate and not pay the taxes shouldn’t be a reason for special dispensation. Lizzie Presser, ProPublica, "The Reels Brothers Spent Eight Years in Jail for Refusing to Leave It.," 15 July 2019 When an estate is probated, creditors are also prioritized. Holly D. Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Here’s what happens to credit card debt after death," 9 July 2019 After the wills were discovered in May by Owens, attorneys for Franklin's four sons were unable to resolve the issue and headed to court to determine if the wills are admissible to probate. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "Aretha Franklin's youngest son has filed for control over the late singer's estate," 18 June 2019 The embattled judge, who worked in Northeast Tarrant County, was sentenced to two years in jail that was probated over five years. Anna M. Tinsley, star-telegram, "Democratic runoff loser claims voter fraud in race for Joe Barton's congressional seat," 18 June 2018 Other cases Casey last week was sentenced to two years in jail that was probated over five years. Anna M. Tinsley, star-telegram, "Tarrant County picks replacement for disgraced judge who got probation for rigging election | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 1 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'probate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of probate

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for probate

Noun

Middle English probat, from Latin probatum, neuter of probatus, past participle of probare

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about probate

Time Traveler for probate

Time Traveler

The first known use of probate was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for probate

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Probate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/probate. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for probate

probate

noun

English Language Learners Definition of probate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

law
: the process of proving in court that the will of a person who has died is valid

probate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of probate (Entry 2 of 2)

US, law : to prove that (a will) is valid before a probate court

probate

noun
pro·​bate | \ ˈprō-ˌbāt How to pronounce probate (audio) \

Legal Definition of probate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the process of proving in a court of competent jurisdiction (as a probate court) that an instrument is the valid last will and testament of a deceased person broadly : the process of administering an estate
b : the judicial determination that a will is valid
2 : the officially authenticated copy of a probated will
b : matters that fall under the jurisdiction of a probate court

probate

transitive verb
probated; probating

Legal Definition of probate (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to establish (a will) as valid through probate
2a : to put (a convicted offender) on probation
b : to replace (a sentence) with probation

History and Etymology for probate

Noun

Latin probatum, neuter of probatus, past participle of probare to test, approve, prove

More from Merriam-Webster on probate

Nglish: Translation of probate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of probate for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about probate

Comments on probate

What made you want to look up probate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!