About Probate Court

The Tuscarawas County Probate Court can be found on the second floor of the Tuscarawas County Courthouse on the square in New Philadelphia. The Clerk’s office is Room 203 and the Courtroom is Room 201.

The term “probate” means “to prove” as derived from the Latin term probatio. The term “probate” also is used to describe the court procedure by which a Will is proved to be valid or invalid.

The probate court has nothing to do with criminal probation.

Early American probate courts can be traced back to English courts of chancery which had jurisdiction over the probate of wills, administration of estates and guardianships.

The first probate court in the United States was established in Massachusetts in 1784. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 provided for the first probate judge and court in the Ohio Territory. Under the first Ohio Constitution written in 1802,

The Court of Common Pleas had exclusive jurisdiction of probate matters. The Constitution of 1851 removed probate matters from the jurisdiction of the Court of Common Pleas and created a separate Probate Court in each county. Subsequent amendments to the Ohio Constitution in 1912, 1951, 1968 and 1973 and changes in the law in 1932 and 1976 have made the Probate Court what it is today: a special division of the Court of Common Pleas. Each of Ohio’s 88 counties has a probate division of its Court of Common Pleas.

The Ohio Revised Code (Ohio’s laws) places more than 200 separate duties upon the Probate Court. These duties include the administration of decedent’s estates, appointment of guardians, involuntary commitments of the mentally ill, adoptions, birth record corrections and registrations, changes of name, issuance of marriage licenses and supervision of testamentary trusts.

The Probate Court also is the repository for

countless historical records relating to these types of cases, many going back to 1808. These records are available daily from 8-4:15 for viewing and printing from microfilm.

The Probate Court is governed by Title 21 of the Ohio Revised Code, the Rules of Civil Procedure, the Rules of Superintendence for Ohio Courts and the Court’s Local Rules.