probate court


Definition of probate court

: a court that has jurisdiction chiefly over the probate of wills and administration of deceased persons' estates

Examples of probate court in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The findings of the independent review are part of a petition Nicholas’ family filed on Thursday in probate court in Houston. Washington Post, "Attorneys: Review raises doubts about fatal Texas drug raid," 25 July 2019 Epstein's $577 million in assets will not pass from his estate into his private trust until all creditors' claims have been satisfied in a probate court. Brian Pascus, CBS News, "What we know about Jeffrey Epstein's will, and what happens next with his estate," 21 Aug. 2019 After examining the funeral service bill, his attorney filed a complaint with the funeral board and petitioned the probate court to order McBride to reimburse the estate for some of the charges. Anne Ryman, azcentral, "Phoenix funeral home took control of dead people's estates, then charged them excessive fees, complaints say," 21 June 2019 The document can be filed at any county probate court office in Alabama. Leada Gore |, al, "Alabama’s new marriage law goes into effect today," 29 Aug. 2019 In 2017, the late socialite’s will was revealed, and according to probate court documents obtained by PEOPLE, all of her assets were consolidated into a trust of which Frederic is the sole trustee. Sam Gillette,, "Zsa Zsa Gabor's Glamorous and Shocking Life: From Nine Husbands to Her Mental Health Battle," 30 July 2019 Records from the Hamilton County probate court show that the bulk of the settlement, nearly $5.2 million, was split equally between Mr. Armstrong’s sons, Mark and Rick. Scott Shane, New York Times, "Neil Armstrong’s Death, and a Stormy, Secret $6 Million Settlement," 23 July 2019 In various forms, the dispute had been playing out until recently in a local probate court before judges accustomed to squabbling over inheritances. Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Deaths in Entertainment Become Problems for the Federal Judiciary," 22 Aug. 2019 One's domicile must be proven in a probate court, usually through tax returns, a drivers license, or documented time spent in specific jurisdictions. Brian Pascus, CBS News, "What we know about Jeffrey Epstein's will, and what happens next with his estate," 21 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'probate court.' 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 court

1726, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

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The first known use of probate court was in 1726

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probate court


Financial Definition of probate court

What It Is

Probate court is a section of the court system that transfers money and property from the deceased to heirs, beneficiaries or other entities.

How It Works

John Doe writes a will. In his will, he leaves his house to his sister, Mary, and his car to his son. He leaves nothing to his wife. Then John dies. His wife discovers that John’s will says he does not want her to receive the house or the car. However, the state’s laws state that because she was married to John at the time of his death, she is in fact entitled to those assets. Mary and the son disagree.

The estate goes to probate court, as do many estates large and small. Many people think they don't need to do any sort of estate planning, and they think that the existence of a simple will does the job. However, wills are simply legal documents that express the decedent's intentions for burial and to whom he or she wishes to pass money and property (the estate) when he or she dies. An actual judge has to allow the transfer of that money and property from the decedent's accounts to the beneficiaries' accounts. This procedure (probate) opens the door for relatives or third parties to contest a will and for a judge to interpret (or misinterpret) John Doe’s wishes, both of which can tie up an estate in court for years.

Why It Matters

Probate fees can cost thousands and thousands of dollars. There are also executor fees, court fees, recording fees, and attorney fees. In many cases, these fees must be paid as the estate is probated, meaning that the heirs will need to come up with the money fairly immediately after a person's death. In many cases, the heirs either have to sell the assets they've inherited just to pay the taxes and fees, or they have to borrow money to do so.

Establishing a trust often aids greatly in this situation because it allows a person to transfer legal title of his or her property to another person while they're still alive, potentially saving thousands in probate fees (and taxes). A trust also gives the trustee (the person acting on behalf of the decedent) the authority to distribute assets immediately to the beneficiaries based on the terms of the trust. No court is involved, so there are no probate fees and no public record of the value of the estate. Trusts are not for everyone, however, so it is important to seek proper financial advice.

Source: Investing Answers

probate court


English Language Learners Definition of probate court

US, law : a court that proves wills are valid

probate court


Legal Definition of probate court

: a court that has jurisdiction over the probate of wills and administration of estates and sometimes over the affairs of minors and persons adjudged incompetent — compare orphans' court

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