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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Virginia Hammerle is a Texas attorney whose practice includes estate planning, guardianship and probate. Dallas News, "Butt shaking: Accusation of lawyer’s bad acts goes viral," 16 May 2020 More than $500,000 remained in probate, and then drained by a third, over two years. Michael Taylor, ExpressNews.com, "Taylor: Thy will be done (and you really should get it drawn up right now)," 9 Mar. 2020 The domestic relations, juvenile, probate and appellate courts made similar cutbacks. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, "Cuyahoga County judges, lawyers create task force to evaluate courthouse response to ‘new coronavirus era'," 26 Mar. 2020 Our disabled sister passed away recently, leaving an estate that is now in probate. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, "Dear Abby: Boyfriend’s marital status makes woman worry she’s a ‘side chick’," 17 Jan. 2020 Due to the absence of a local county court-at-law, the county judge’s duties also include presiding in court over misdemeanor criminal proceedings as well as juvenile, probate and guardianship cases. Zeke Maccormack, San Antonio Express-News, "Bandera County challenger says judge has served long enough," 14 Feb. 2018 Civil division judges will be on-call to handle emergency situations in those cases, and probate matters, remotely or in person. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Further restrictions, until mid-May, announced for Milwaukee courts," 24 Mar. 2020 Christopher Turner, assistant director of elections for Montgomery County, said the probate office believes the governor has the authority under a section of the Alabama Emergency Management Act of 1955. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "Montgomery County probate office wants March 31 runoff postponed," 15 Mar. 2020 Sabrina Owens, who has overseen business and probate matters since the Queen of Soul's August 2018 death, filed a petition Thursday in Oakland County Probate Court giving two weeks' notice of her resignation. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Aretha Franklin estate shakeup: Niece to resign as executor while family conflict broils," 30 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 After pleading guilty to the state jail felony charge in Judge Wayne Salvant's courtroom, Casey was sentenced to two years in state jail but that sentence was probated over five years. Anna M. Tinsley, star-telegram, "Tarrant County judge pleads guilty, resigns after using fake signatures to get on ballot | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 23 Apr. 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for probate

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for probate

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Probate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/probate. Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for probate

probate

noun
How to pronounce probate (audio)

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
How to pronounce probate (audio)

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
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on probate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with probate

Spanish Central: Translation of probate

Nglish: Translation of probate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of probate for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about probate

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