The government of Washington County is to serve the people of Washington County in a professional and cost effective manner so that all of our citizens may enjoy a protected quality of life and appreciate our diversity through openness and fairness.
Probate court is a segment of the judicial system that primarily handles such matters as wills, estates, conservatorships, and guardianships, as well as the commitment of mentally ill persons to institutions designed to help them. When wills are contested, for example, the probate court is responsible for ruling on the authenticity of the document and the mental stability of the person who signed it.
The court also decides who receives which portion of the decedent’s assets, based on the instructions in the will or—barring that—other laws in place.
Understanding Probate Court
The role of the probate court is to make sure that a deceased person’s debts are paid and assets are allocated to the correct beneficiaries. The term probate is used to describe the legal process that manages the assets and liabilities left behind by a recently deceased person. Probate is multifaceted in that it covers the overall legal process of dealing with a deceased person’s assets and debt, the court that manages the process, and the actual distribution of assets itself.
The Process of Probate Court
The process of probate is initiated when a person files a petition for probate with the state’s probate court system. This petition is normally filed by a family member of the deceased or by a designator of the deceased’s will. The probate court then issues an order that appoints a person to be the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate. The executor or administrator is responsible for allocating the deceased’s estate to the proper beneficiaries, among other administrative duties. A probate lawyer is often hired to help deal with the intricacies of probate.