: 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
: the judicial determination of the validity of a will
: the officially authenticated copy of a probated will
: 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
: legal matters that fall under the jurisdiction of a probate court
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
Her will was offered for probate by the relatives.
The case will now go to probate. Verb
The court will probate the will.
Recent Examples on the Web
In other states, including California, probate can be lengthy, expensive and worth avoiding.—Liz Weston, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Oct. 2023 Felons have never been allowed to serve as an executor of a probate estate.—Virginia Hammerle, Dallas News, 30 July 2023 In 2012, an Alabama probate judge declared Holloway legally dead.—Tim Stelloh, NBC News, 14 Oct. 2023 The number of enslaved people connected with the church is likely greater than the 219 people discovered in probate and other records by a historian hired by King’s Chapel about seven years ago, according to Waters and Fallon, the senior minister.—Brian MacQuarrie, BostonGlobe.com, 18 June 2023 Although California law requires felony criminal cases to be documented by a reporter, the Superior Court has been forced to abandon recording certain probate and family law cases due to the staffing shortfall.—James Queally, Los Angeles Times, 27 July 2023 Her practice includes estate planning, guardianship, probate and litigation.—Virginia Hammerle, Dallas News, 27 Aug. 2023 That is but the first chapter in the story that is your mom’s probate.—Virginia Hammerle, Dallas News, 27 Aug. 2023 James Brown’s estate, for example, became mired in probate, family and copyright issues after his death in 2006.—Daniel Arkin, NBC News, 9 July 2023
That is how long the personal representative has to file a written oath and any bond after the court enters an order admitting a will to probate and appointing the personal representative.—Dallas News, 7 Aug. 2022 When the estate went to probate, Briscoe demanded money to release his claim on the property.—Propublica, Dallas News, 18 May 2023 Ryan Hill, 30, was sentenced to four years in prison probated for four years.—Quinlan Bentley, The Enquirer, 5 Apr. 2023 Benny Roshan is chair of Greenberg Glusker’s trusts and probate litigation group.—Benny Roshan, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Jan. 2023 In 1970, after a three-year court fight, a Dallas court admitted Otis’ will to probate.—Dallas News, 17 Apr. 2022 After all that, my lawyer filed an application with the court to probate your will.—Dallas News, 4 Sep. 2022 The nonprofit legal services organization has two full-time attorneys dedicated to probate.—Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press, 26 Nov. 2022 In the past few years, probate judges on juvenile justice and child welfare dockets tasked with finding spots in residential treatment centers for these children have been hamstrung by the lack of open beds.—Christine MacDonald, Detroit Free Press, 20 Oct. 2022 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'probate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English probat, from Latin probatum, neuter of probatus, past participle of probare