The Probate Court is concerned with:
- Protection of the incapacitated and their assets
- Developmentally disabled or mentally ill individuals and their assets
- Proper transfer of assets upon death
Probate Court has jurisdiction over the following matters:
- Wills and Deceased Estates
- Guardianships (Minors and Adults)
- Conservatorships (Minors and Adults)
- Mentally Ill Individuals
- Developmentally Disabled Individuals
The Probate Court also hears a variety of other types of matters. These include the following:
- Petitions for Protective Orders, which are typically one-time requests for the Court to allow or approve some action, such as approval of a settlement.
- Various civil actions, where one party is suing another party. These cases are just like cases in circuit or district court, except usually a trust, estate, or fiduciary is one of the parties, so the proceeding has some relation to the regular business of the Probate Court.
- Finally, the Probate Court holds Wills for safekeeping and hears proceedings for change of name, drain appeals and secret marriages.
While the number of cases filed in Probate Court has remained fairly constant over the past few years, the number of active matters continues to grow, because guardianships and conservatorships often last many, many years. The monitoring of these proceedings requires extensive staff time, and presents a continuing challenge to the personnel and resources of the Court.