In English law. The name of a court established in 1857, under the probate act of that year, (20 & 21 Vict. c. 77,) to be held in London, to which court was transferred the testamentary jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts. 2 Steph. Comm. 192. By the judicature acts, this court is merged in the high court of justice. In American law. A court having jurisdiction over the probate of wills, the grant of administration, and the supervision of the management and settlement of the estates of decedents, including the collection of assets, the allowance of claims, and the distribution of the estate. In some states the probate courts also have jurisdiction of the estates of minors, including the appointment of guardians and the settlement of their accounts, and of the estates of lunatics, habitual drunkards, and spendthrifts. And in some states these courts possess a limited jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases. They are also called “orphans’ courts” and “surrogate’s courts.”
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