About the Probate Court Division

The Warren County Probate Court began operation in 1835. It holds the distinction of being one of the oldest operating courts in the state. Probate Courts are established in each county in the State of Ohio. Each of Ohio's eighty-eight counties has one probate judge except Cuyahoga County which has two.

The Probate Court has a specialized jurisdiction. The Probate Court establishes decedent's estates, guardianships and trusts and appoints fiduciaries to administer the foregoing. Sales of land by fiduciaries must be approved by the Probate Court unless the instrument, which creates the trust estate, allows for a sale without court approval. The Court must supervise these fiduciaries to ensure that they exercise their trust efficiently and honestly.

As an exception to the unpleasant matters with which courts frequently deal, the Probate Court considers adoptions which are typically joyous occasions.

The Court must also approve wrongful death settlements and their allocation among the various statutory beneficiaries. Claims for injuries to minors are also subject to Probate Court approval.

The Probate Court hears actions which allege a person is mentally ill and subject to Court Order. In this regard the Court must also determine the least restrictive treatment setting for those mentally ill persons subject to the Court's jurisdiction.

The Probate Court's jurisdiction includes determination of adult protective services petitions where the Court must decide if an adult over sixty years of age has been neglected, abused or exploited and if so what services are necessary to remediate those problems.

Persons seeking name changes must obtain Probate Court permission. In exercising this jurisdiction the Court is mindful that a person is entitled to change their name so long as the name change does not contravene public interest or tends to facilitate the avoidance of creditors or hinder law enforcement officials in the performance of their duties.

The issuance of marriage licenses is another important function of the Probate Court.

As is obvious by the foregoing descriptions of the Probate Court's jurisdiction, the Court is oftentime charged with the responsibility of acting in the public interest and looking out for those that cannot or will not look out for themselves. It is this philosophy that guides the operation of the Warren County Probate Court.