The Probate Courts have often been called "the people's courts" because they offer simple, direct access to legal proceedings. Convenience and efficiency are the hallmarks of the Probate Court. The majority of uncontested matters are heard within four weeks of the time a person goes downtown or drives to the next town to file the application. In most cases, the courtroom will be a conference room in the Probate Court offices. The atmosphere at the hearing is informal; the judge does not preside from a bench or wear a black robe.
Parties involved in a proceeding do not necessarily require a lawyer to represent them. Probate Court forms are designed to be "user-friendly,'' and the probate clerk or judge may offer limited assistance to people completing required forms and reports. In the case of complex estates or complicated family matters, however, an attorney should be retained, as explained below.
Decedent's EstatesThe executor or administrator of an estate should obtain legal assistance if:
The Council on Probate Judicial Conduct has jurisdiction over disciplining probate judges
Council on Probate Judicial Conduct
Probate fee information can be found by clicking on the following link: Probate Fees and Expenses