What is Probate Court?

Legal Definition
A probate court (sometimes called a surrogate court) is a court that has competence in a jurisdiction to deal with matters of probate and the administration of estates. In some jurisdictions, such courts may be referred to as Orphans' Courts, or courts of ordinary. In some jurisdictions probate court functions are performed by a chancery court or another court of equity, or as a part or division of another court.

Probate courts administer proper distribution of the assets of a decedent (one who has died), adjudicates the validity of wills, enforces the provisions of a valid will (by issuing the grant of probate), prevents malfeasance by executors and administrators of estates, and provides for the equitable distribution of the assets of persons who die intestate (without a valid will), such as by granting a grant of administration giving judicial approval to the personal representative to administer matters of the estate.

In contested matters, the probate court examines the authenticity of a will and decides who is to receive the deceased person's property. In a case of an intestacy, the court determines who is to receive the deceased's property under the law of its jurisdiction. The probate court will then oversee the process of distributing the deceased's assets to the proper beneficiaries. A probate court can be petitioned by interested parties in an estate, such as when a beneficiary feels that an estate is being mishandled. The court has the authority to compel an executor to give an account of their actions.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
A probate court is a court of limited jurisdiction that hears matters surrounding a person's death. For example, probate courts oversee the distribution of dead peoples' assets according to their wills and direct the distribution of dead peoples' assets if they die without a will.

Some probate courts also hear petitions to declare people incompetent and oversee guardians or conservators. Other jurisdictions leave these matters to family courts.

Probate courts are governed by state and local law. Some jurisdictions have surrogate courts instead of probate courts.

See Estate Planning; Estates and Trusts; State probate laws.
Legal Definition
A court that has the authority to rate wills and supervise the administeration of assets to the beneficiaries.
Legal Definition
Courts having jurisdiction of the establishment of wills, and the administration of the estates of persons dying with or without wills. See 128 U. S. 53, 32 L. Ed. 415, 9 Sup. Ct. Rep. 30.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
See Court of Probate.
-- Black's Law Dictionary