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Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Estate Planning / How to Understand the Role of a Probate Judge in an Estate

How to Understand the Role of a Probate Judge in an Estate


Probate judges are important individuals when a contest or dispute emerges in the processing of an estate. Probate judges are state judicial officials and civil court judges who oversee those cases that enter the probate court system within their state.

This can include concerns related to competency or guardianship in addition to the estate of deceased individuals. In some states adoptions are covered through this court as well. In certain states these are called surrogates courts and not every county or state will have probate courts.

A probate judge’s role in the administration of a loved one’s estate will vary based on whether or not the deceased left a last will and testament. If they did not, it is said that the decedent died intestate, meaning that state rules will determine who will receive the property and in what order. The exact duties of the probate judge in the administration of the case will also depend on whether or not everyone gets along and is on the same page about the validity of a will.

When a will contest is filed, a judge can also be involved in the management of that legal case, ensuring that all evidence and issues are properly heard in the court. As someone creating your own estate planning document, you should not need to interact with a probate judge at this point but your heirs may come into contact with this party in the future. Speak with a VA Beach estate planning lawyer immediately to get help.

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