A probate court is a court of law that supervises the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s assets to their rightful heirs or beneficiaries.
The primary purpose of probate is to protect the decedent’s assets from being misappropriated by creditors or others with illegitimate claims against the estate. Probate also provides a forum for distributing the decedent’s assets according to their wishes as stated in their will, or if they died without a will, according to the laws of intestate succession.
Probate courts are staffed by judges who are specially trained in handling probate matters. In some jurisdictions, the probate court is also responsible for overseeing the administration of trusts and guardianships.
If you are an heir or beneficiary of a deceased person’s estate, or if you are owed money by the estate, the probate court may have jurisdiction over your claims. If you are contemplating opening a probate proceeding, or if you are already involved in one, you should consult with an experienced probate attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.