probate

noun
pro·​bate | \ˈprō-ˌbāt, 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 \
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

With her girl-next-door-meets-big-city-star looks, Gayle was born to Sunrise probate lawyer Larry Klitzman and store owner Robin. Jose Lambiet, miamiherald, "Sami Gayle: Weston-raised and now starring in new Netflix film | Miami Herald," 1 May 2018 Ronald Lipman, of Houston law firm Lipman & Associates, is board certified in estate planning and probate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Houston Chronicle, "Statute of limitations in Fla. probate probably doesn’t extend 10 years," 2 July 2018 My take: Other types of investments also can pass directly outside of probate, including Individual Retirement Accounts, regular life insurance and 401(k) accounts, so annuities don't have special merit in this regard. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "Should you buy an annuity? 4 tips to consider," 24 June 2018 Wade Hampton II’s probate file is recorded at Richland County, S.C., Box 46, Package 1144 (via FamilySearch; free registration required). The Root, "Tracing Your Roots: My Confederate Ancestor Is on Monuments; Who Did He Own?," 23 Feb. 2018 The judge in the probate case, David Borowski, has scheduled a hearing on the dispute in late July. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Mother opposes father's share of settlement in son's death at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex," 6 July 2018 Under questioning from Doherty, Edward Williams reviewed multiple legal documents from the probate case and property sale and said his signature was forged. Laura Crimaldi, BostonGlobe.com, "Pam family members go on trial for allegedly scamming elderly siblings out of Mattapan home," 13 July 2018 Three years later, probate lawyer Harley Herman launched a one-man fight to gain recognition for Hawkins’ civil rights achievements, and the state’s high court posthumously reinstated Hawkins’ Bar membership. Lauren Ritchie, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Lake County owes Virgil Hawkins recognition and a thank you for role in civil rights struggle," 12 July 2018 Aldrin’s children, Andrew and Janice, file a petition with probate division of Florida circuit court saying Col. Gretchen Morgenson, WSJ, "Buzz Aldrin Fights Family For Control of His Space Legacy," 25 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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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Statistics for probate

Last Updated

23 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for probate

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

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More Definitions for probate

probate

noun

English Language Learners Definition of probate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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)

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

probate

noun
pro·​bate | \ˈprō-ˌbāt \

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

3a : probate court

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

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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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