In 1850, a court of Probate as we know it today was established in each county. Since 1850, there have been several important changes in the legal framework of the office of the Judge of Probate.
Most of the early changes made added new duties to those already assigned or expanded existing areas of responsibility. Additional responsibilities in election administration, licensing and records are good examples of the expansion.
Probate Judges are also the chairperson of the County Commission in 15 counties: Cherokee, Choctaw, Cleburne, Dale, Dallas, Franklin, Geneva, Hale, Henry, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lee, Monroe, Tuscaloosa and Washington.
Duties and Responsibilities
Name Changes, Adoptions and Contests to Adoptions, Involuntary Commitment of the Mentally Ill, Condemnation of Privately Owned Land for Public Use (Eminent Domain), Guardianship and Conservatorship Proceedings for Minor Children and Adults Who Are Mentally Ill and/or Physically Incapacitated, and the Administration of Decedents’ Estates (whether or not the decedent had a last will and testament).
The Judge of Probate is the custodian of the County’s public records, including deeds, real estate mortgages, and the like.
The Judge of Probate is the Chief Election Officer of each County. The Judge of Probate serves, along with the Sheriff of each County and the Clerk of the Circuit Court of each County, as chairman of the boards which oversee the election process in the various counties of Alabama and appoints all local election officials.
The Judge of Probate is responsible for the recordation of Marriage Certificates.
The Judge of Probate appoints notaries public, who are authorized to administer certain oaths and certify the execution of certain documents.