We are often asked the question, “what is probate court?” Probate court is the court where the process of probate occurs. Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person which involves resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property either in accordance with his will or, if there is no will, in accordance with the laws of heirship.
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If there is a will, then the probate court decides the legal validity of the will and grants its approval by granting probate to the executor (the person named in the will to take charge of the decedent’s estate after his death). If probate is granted, then the executor named in the will is appointed as the executor of the estate with the legal power to dispose of the assets of the decedent as specified in the will.
There are several factors that determine which court will serve as the probate court for a deceased person. Usually the appropriate probate court is located in the county in which the decedent resided when he or she died died.
In most counties, the court where probate matters are heard also handles many other types of cases besides probate. However, in some of the larger counties, such as Harris County, there are courts that specialize only in probate matters.