Probate court handles legal matters like estates, guardianships, and wills. Probate is a court procedure for the proving of a Will, gathering of the assets and making an inventory, the payment of debts and expenses and distribution of the property at the conclusion of the process.
In California, probate is a regimented, lengthy and an expensive process and the goal of any estate plan should be to reduce or eliminate the need for probate all together.
Probate may also be required when someone dies without a Will (known as an intestate death). In small estates, currently under $166,250, Probate may not be necessary.