Probate Court is divided into three major areas:
- The probate of estates and supervision of trusts;
- Guardianships and Conservatorships; and
- Commitment of Mentally Ill.
Probate Court also has jurisdiction regarding secret marriages, drain proceedings,
kidney donations, delayed registration of birth, missing person proceedings, marriage
ceremonies, and establishing death of disaster victims.
Estates & Trusts
Probate is a procedure for transferring title of the decedent's property to the
persons entitled to it. Many people believe that by having a Will they will avoid
probate. While a Will may make probate easier, there still must be disposition through
probate of those items titled in the decedent's name alone. A living trust can avoid
probate if all the decedent's assets are owned by the trust. Upon death, title to
those assets pass according to the terms of the trust without the need of probate.
Probate court also oversees safekeeping of wills.
Appointment of guardianships & conservatorships
A guardian is a person who makes personal decisions for the ward. A guardian is
responsible for the care and control of a ward. A conservator makes decisions concerning
the finances of the ward. Types of guardians and conservators appointed by the probate
court include Full or Limited Guardian of a Minor, Conservator of an Adult or Minor,
Protective Orders, Full or Limited Guardian of an Adult (legally incapacitated or
Commitment of Mentally Ill
Probate Court is responsible for the involuntary commitment of the mentally ill.
It has jurisdiction over any person who is a resident of the court's county or who
is found in that county. The court must determine if the person is mentally ill and
if that person also meets the requirements that the person is either dangerous to
themselves, dangerous to others or unable to take care of basic physical needs. After
the probate Court determines that an individual is a person requiring treatment,
it must determine the duration and kind of treatment within the statutory requirements.
NOTE: The court is happy to provide you with forms and routine information
regarding filing but court personnel are restricted by law from giving legal advice.