Many of the judicial functions of the Probate Judge’s Office are actually administrative. These duties are judicial because they require a decision by a judicial officer who is the Probate Judge. The decisions stay within the judiciary established by the state constitution. All decisions by the Probate Judge are by legal process and can only go to another court on appeal. The decisions of the Probate Court have the same validity as a general court of law.The Probate Judge, as well as the Chief clerk, can perform judicial duties within the jurisdiction of the Probate Court when there is no contest.
The Probate Judge has the judicial authority to probate wills, to grant executorships, appoint administrators or personal representatives, as well as to remove executors or administrators or personal representatives.
Other duties and powers of the Probate Judge include:
- Appoint and remove guardians for minor children and mental incompetent persons
- To hear and decide on petitions for condemnations of privately owned land
- In a few cases to hear and decide election contests
- To handle adoption proceedings
- To hear and decide homestead exemptions
- To conduct hearings to commit persons to mental institutions