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 $117,000 proceeds from the second sale were deposited into a bank account controlled by Pam and the profit was never reported to the probate court, Doherty said. Laura Crimaldi,, "Pam family members go on trial for allegedly scamming elderly siblings out of Mattapan home," 13 July 2018 Linda Carman's three sisters have filed a petition in probate court in New Hampshire, where Chakalos owned a home, asking a judge to bar Nathan Carman from getting his mother's share of Chakalos' estate. Fox News, "Lawyer: Evidence could exonerate man in grandfather's death," 18 Sep. 2018 Family members usually have to go to probate court for this kind of ruling, where they can be appointed as a guardian and take control of the guns. Washington Post, "Worried About Grandpa’s Guns? Here’s What You Can Do.," 25 June 2018 Jean worked as a legal secretary in the probate court office, and also for local attorneys. Hartford Courant,, "Jean C. Dupont," 31 May 2018 Unlike the Massachusetts letter, the New York letter does not mention an investigation and does not focus on prisons, instead offering guidance to family and probate courts. Felice J. Freyer,, "US investigating treatment of addicted prisoners in Mass.," 29 Mar. 2018 The couple married in 2009, according to Lorain County probate court records. Courtney Astolfi,, "Cleveland man involved in police standoff charged in wife's death," 17 Jan. 2018 Other races include judicial runoffs for the 187th and 226th state district courts, a GOP runoff for a county probate court, and a Democratic runoff for a county court-at-law. Jasper Scherer, San Antonio Express-News, "Primary runoff Tuesday to decide several contested races," 21 May 2018 Before they were charged with crimes, Orlin and Craig Root-Thalman were involved in a probate court case about their 92-year-old neighbor. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Appeals court returns elderly woman's house to couple charged with stealing it," 14 June 2018

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

6 Feb 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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