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 Guy Hunt, a former probate judge and Primitive Baptist preacher from Cullman County, had gotten just 21,000 votes to win the Republican primary. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "Alabama Bicentennial: 200 years of political scandals and scrapes," 4 Dec. 2019 In 2008, Spears may have been a danger to herself and her children, said Andy Mayoras, a probate attorney who has written about her conservatorship. Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times, "Britney Spears hasn’t fully controlled her life for years. Fans insist it’s time to #FreeBritney," 18 Sep. 2019 The appointment comes after Montgomery elected former probate judge Steven Reed as its first black mayor. Lily Jackson | Ljackson@al.com, al, "Ivey appoints J C Love III Montgomery County Probate Judge," 17 Nov. 2019 Reed was born and raised in Montgomery and in 2012 became the first African American elected as probate judge in Montgomery County. Aditi Sangal, CNN, "Montgomery, Alabama's first black mayor-elect says he wants his city seen as a part of the New South," 10 Oct. 2019 Elder, estate and probate attorneys who work on guardianship cases -- many of whom earn fees paid with the assets of the person who the court has decided is incapacitated -- threw up a thicket of objections. Monivette Cordeiro, orlandosentinel.com, "Florida guardianship laws weakened by elder law attorneys’ lobbying. For some courts, exceptions have become the rule | Special report," 30 Aug. 2019 Revocable trusts is used to avoid probate, a lengthy and expensive process that can keep assets tied up for years. Bruce Helmer And Peg Webb, Twin Cities, "Your Money: Navigating your estate plan," 10 Aug. 2019 The Pima County Superior Court showed a 1985 probate case for the estate of Gary Brazil. AZCentral.com, "Don Bolles files: The case of Skippy Brazil, the drug informant who was set on fire," 28 Aug. 2019 The circumstances of their relationship drew the interest of a probate judge and the county's senior services workers. Keith Schubert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Was it elder abuse or compassion for a stranger? Judge sentences man who took over elderly neighbor's home," 25 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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

7 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Probate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/probating. Accessed 14 December 2019.

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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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