What is the meaning of the word Probate. The Probate Pro receives hundreds of telephone calls and email each week. And during these communications, there is one word’s meaning that causes tremendous confusion. What is that word? Yes, you got it…


So, what the heck is Probate?

Probate Meaning – Definition

So, let’s look at the definition for the meaning of probate. Yes, the dictionary. The English noun “Probate” derives directly from the Latin verbs probo and probare, which means to try, test, prove, and examine. The process itself means that the Will must be proved before the court. In the olden days, a paragraph in Latin was actually written by scribes within the Will, commencing with the words Probatum identifying that the Will was written in front of a respectable person.  The earliest known usage of the English word “Probate” was in 1463, defined as “the official proving of a will.”

Is that helpful? Let’s dig deeper into the meaning of the word probate.

Probate is the process of administering a decedent’s estate, whether there is a will (testate) or no will (intestate). Probate is a court proceeding when somebody has died. This process takes the assets which belonged to the person who died and distributes it to family members or whoever is designated as a beneficiary. To begin the probate process, a probate estate is commenced by filing pleadings with the probate court, either formally through a petition, or informally through an application. Within that document, a personal representative will be appointed, and heirs may be designated.

The probate court has jurisdiction over deceased probate estates, trusts, mental health, registrations of foreign births, guardianships, and conservatorships.

Confusion Between Probate and Probation

Some people are confused about the difference between Probate (as in Wills) and Probation (as in being release from jail with conditions).

Each day, people mistakenly call the Probate Court when in fact they mean to be calling their probation officer. I can understand people’s confusion. They sound similar. However, the only real similarity is that both have their origins in Latin. Their practical meanings are not related.

Glossary – Probate Definitions

The Probate Pro created a Glossary of common probate and trust terms using plain, easy to understand words. To access the Glossary, click here.
The Probate Pro created a database containing free, videos and forms. To access the Forms, click here.

Still confused, don’t be shy about calling us! We love to help.

(833) PROBATE | (833) 776-2283