Where is probate handled?

Probate of an estate is usually handled by a court located in the same county and state where the deceased lived at the time of his or her death.

If the county is too small to have its own probate court, there may be a court in a neighboring county that will have jurisdiction or jurisdiction may be given to another court, like the county court. Every state has some court that has the jurisdiction to handle probate matters, but not every state calls this court the same thing.

For example, in New York the probate court is known as the Surrogate’s Court, while in California the Probate Division of the Superior Court has the responsibility to deal with probate matters.

Click here to find out what the probate court is called in your state.

A probate court has the power to distribute all of the deceased’s personal property, which is everything but real property, such as money, stocks and bonds, insurance policies, investment assets, vehicles, jewelry, artwork, clothing, and all personal items. It also has the power to distribute real property, land and buildings, that is located in that state. It does not have jurisdiction over real property located in another state.