Probate Court, in Ohio, is a division of the Court of Common Pleas and has jurisdiction over the administration of wills and estates as well as guardianships, marriages, adoptions, name changes, and correction of birth records.
Overview of the process
“Probate” is typically used when referring to the process of administering a will or estate after a person has passed away. If the person dies after executing a will (testate), the Executor, if named in the Will, may file an application to probate the will with the Court. The court examines the will to determine compliance with the statute, and if deemed valid, will grant, to the Executor, preliminary authority to administer the estate as directed by the decedent's will. The authority may be open to challenge from anyone claiming that either the will, as admitted by the probate court, was invalid or that a later will was executed. Such a challenge is often referred to as a "Will Contest." Once a will is admitted to probate and the Executor is appointed, any probate property can then be distributed, with supervision of the court, to the heirs designated in the will.
If a person dies without a will (intestate), an interested party may open their estate for probate. Without a will, their property is distributed according to the law of descent and distribution, currently defined in chapter 2105 of the Ohio Revised Code. A brief chart of Ohio's law of descent and distribution is available here.