The word probate means to prove or validate. Probate is the procedure by which a will is approved by the Court as the valid and last will of a deceased individual. It also typically confirms the appointment of the person named as executor in the will, or will consider options and make an appointment if necessary.
Duties include the appointments of administrators or guardians for people incapable of caring for themselves and/or managing their finances, which is most often seen in cases for minors and incapacitated adults. The Probate Judge also appoints the county administrator every four years.
Civil commitments are another responsibility of Probate, which is the placement of individuals with severe substance abuse or psychiatric disabilities in a hospital that provides for proper care, without their consent. A probate judge may also hear contested cases in regards to the administration of estates and trusts.
Overseeing traffic court is a function of the Probate Judge, which is convened on a monthly basis, and game and fish citations are also processed through this office as well.
Marriage licenses and firearm permits are filed for and received from the Probate Office.
The Probate Judge acts as the county’s Vital Records Custodian and is tasked with the filing and safe keeping of birth certificates and death certificates, and the issuance of certified copies of those documents.