The National College of Probate Judges (“NCPJ”), organized in 1968, is the only national organization exclusively dedicated to improving probate law and probate courts. “Probate jurisdiction” varies from state to state. However, generally, all probate courts handle cases involving the estates of deceased persons, adult guardianship and protective proceedings, and mental health and addictive disease treatment, and matters concerning developmentally disabled persons. In some states, probate courts handle adoptions, certain juvenile matters, and/or guardianship and conservatorship of minors.
Probate jurisdiction is exercised exlusively or partly in separate probate courts in seventeen (17) states. In the remaining thirty-three (33) states and the District of Columbia, probate jurisdiction is exercised in the general jurisdiction trial courts by assignment or rotation among the judges in multi-judge districts or circuits.