The Ohio Revised Code places over two hundred separate duties upon the Hardin County Probate Court.
The term "probate" comes from the Latin word probatio, meaning "to prove", wherein matters in early English religious courts were proven before an ecclesiastical judge. Early American probate courts may be traced back to English Courts of Chancery and ecclesiastical, or religious courts, which had jurisdiction over the probate of wills, administration of estates and guardianships. Today's Probate Court has jurisdiction to hear over two hundred (200) separate kinds of cases. They include the administration of decedent's estates, consent for medical treatment, the appointment of guardians for minors and incapacitated adults and the supervision of their property, civil involuntary commitments of the mentally ill, adoptions, birth record corrections and registrations, changes of name, issuance of marriage licenses, supervision of testamentary trusts (those created by will) and interpretation and enforcement of inter vivos trusts (those created during a person's lifetime), land appropriations, will constructions and will contests. With the exception of adoptions and hearings involving the involuntary hospitalization of the mentally ill, probate court hearings are open to the public and probate court records are public records.
Warning About Self-Representation
Probate proceedings are complex and require detailed knowledge of many Ohio statutes, case law, rules and regulations. Our Court strongly encourages you to retain the professional services of an attorney who is experienced in probate law to represent you in any type of probate case.
The Court and its Deputy Clerks are prohibited by law from assisting you with any aspect of your case, including without limitation determining what forms are required and how to complete those forms. The Court and its Deputy Clerks cannot provide you with any information regarding how to properly handle your case beyond the information on this website and are prohibited by law from providing legal advice.
Our Court applies the law equally to every person involved in a proceeding in Hardin County Probate Court, regardless of whether the person is or is not represented by an attorney. There are no special exceptions or more lenient standards for persons who represent themselves without the assistance of an attorney.
For more information about self-representation please visit the Ohio Judicial Conference website for guides and brochures.