What to Expect in Court


It’s Court, But Somewhat Less Formal

Probate courts are courts. The probate judges make rulings that can have serious implications for heirs and others.

But the probate court hearing process is slightly less formal than some other courts. Expect the judge to be friendly and approachable.

If you do speak directly to the judge, try to refer to the judge as “your honor” and do ask permission from the judge to speak.

Probate hearings are open to the public, so feel free to enter the courtroom and to find a seat on the benches in the back of the courtroom.

Suffice it to say that cell phones should be turned off and, if you are chewing gum, please don’t be a distraction to the court.

Court Schedules

We try to meet our clients outside of the courtrooms to answer any last minute questions they may have.

If you arrive before we do, you can check the docket to ensure that your matter is still going to be heard by the court. The court will usually have its “docket” or schedule posted outside of the courtroom door or on the podium in the courtroom. If it is missing, you can always ask the bailiff for a copy.

You should check to see how far down the list your case is. The probate court hearings usually go pretty quick, so don’t get discouraged if you are near the bottom of the list.

Please try to arrive on time. If you aren’t able to get to the courtroom on time, the court will typically move the case to the end of the docket. If you are stuck in traffic, please call our office so that we can relay this to the judge.

Dress Code for Probate Hearings

This is a court hearing, so you should dress accordingly. As long as you are not an attorney in the case, you do not need to wear a suit. Business casual is fine.