Ross County Court of Common Pleas
Probate Division

2 N. Paint St, Suite A
Chillicothe, OH  45601

Phone (740) 774-1179             Fax (740) 774-3711

Hours of Operation
8:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m.
Closed on all legal holidays


A mask is required for entrance into the Court if you are unvaccinated.
  Adoptions Adult Protective Services Change of Name / Name Conformity / Birth Correction/Registration Conservatorship Disinternment
  Estate Guardianship of Minor Guardianship of Incompetent Marriage Information Minor's Claim Adult Claim
  Wrongful Death Estate Tax Forms Inventory of Safe Deposit Box Involuntary Treatment for Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse Archives
  Will on Deposit Attorney Fee Schedule Fiduciary Fee Schedule Guardian Fee Schedule Trustee Fee Schedule    
  Trust Attorney Fee Schedule (Release) FAQs        
  Application for Placement on Appraiser List Appraiser List Ohio's New Adoption Records Release Law
  Motion Financial Affidavit and Affidavit of Indigency Certificate of Service Request for Service

Ohio Supreme Court Probate Forms



  The Ross County Probate Court is one of the oldest operating courts in the State of Ohio.  The Term “probate” comes from the Latin word probatum, meaning “to prove.”  In early English religious courts, matters were proven before an ecclesiastical judge.  Our early American probate courts may be traced back to the English courts of chancery and ecclesiastical, or religious courts, 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 1794.  Similar courts were subsequently established in other stated under the name of surrogate, orphan courts or courts of the ordinary.

  The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 provided for the first probate judge and court in the Ohio territory.  Chillicothe, located in Ross County, was designated the capital of the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio in 1800.  General Arthur St Clair, the Territorial Governor, issued marriage licenses in 1798, when Ross County became a county.

  Estate records or inventories of decedent estates were filed locally beginning in 1797.  These early records reflect values made in two monetary systems, i.e. American dollars and cents and British pounds, shillings, and pence.

  The first Ohio Constitution, written in Chillicothe, in 1802, established Courts of Common Pleas with exclusive jurisdiction of probate matters.  The Constitution of 1851 removed probate matters from the jurisdiction of Common Pleas Courts and created a separate Probate Court in each county.  Subsequent amendments to the constitution in 1912, 1951, 1968, 1973 and changes in the codified 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 Probate Division of the Court of Common Pleas has jurisdiction concerning:

  • estates of deceased persons
  • guardianships of incompetent persons and minor persons
  • adoptions
  • trusts
  • mental illness proceedings
  • marriage licenses
  • civil actions
  • and various miscellaneous matters touching on inheritance and family law, other than divorce and dissolution

The probate Court has the responsibility to maintain records of all the services listed.  These records are then delivered to the Ross County Probate-Juvenile Court Archives for records retention.  The Ross County Probate-Juvenile Court Archives is a treasure trove of information for genealogy research and the public.



Information about Ohio’s new Adoption Law

Effective March 20, 2015, The Adoptions Records Release law was modified to allow a person to request the release of certain records and information for the Ohio Department of heath and not the Probate Court.

 If you are seeking the release of such information, please go to the website of the Ohio Department of Health for further information and their forms.  Their website is

Then link on the tab that says: “Information about Ohio’s New Adoption Law.”

To make a credit card payment, click the picture below:
credit card

Frequently asked questions:              
This information is provided to the public in order to provide a general understanding of the duties and procedures of the Probate Court. This information should not be considered as a legal reference. If you have any legal questions, an attorney should be consulted.
  Question: Can the court staff assist me with the forms and answer my questions?    
  Answer: No. By law the court staff is prohibited from offering any legal advice. If you have questions, you must contact your lawyer.    
  Question: Where can I get a birth certificate?    
  Answer: Birth Certificates must be obtained from the Ross County Health Department or county of birth.    
  Question: What is a guardianship?  
  Answer: A guardianship is an involuntary trust relationship in which one party, called a guardian, acts for an individual called the ward. The law regards the ward as incapable of managing his/her own person and/or affairs.  
  Question: What is a guardian?  
  Answer: A guardian is any adult person, association or corporation appointed by the Probate Court to assume responsibility for the care and management of the person, the estate or both, of an incompetent person or minor child. A corporation can only be guardian of the estate and not of the person.  
  Question: What is a Probate Estate?  
  Answer: A probate estate is a legal proceeding provided for by Ohio law to determine the assets of a person who was an Ohio residence at the time of death, the value of those assets and the distribution of those assets to the persons entitled to them by law.  
  Question: Why is a Probate Estate necessary?  
  Answer: A probate estate is necessary to protect and conserve the assets of a decedent for their heirs, creditors and other persons interested in an estate. The probate estate will provide for the payment of outstanding debts, the payment of taxes and the distribution of the remaining assets to the persons entitled to receive them under the decedent's will, or by law.  
  Question: Why is a Joint and Survivorship Property?  
  Answer: Joint and survivorship property held by two or more persons jointly; each party has equal rights of possession and income. On the death of one joint tenant, his interest transfer to the benefit of the survivor or the survivors in equal shares, without court proceedings. One joint tenant can sever the joint tenancy by conveying his interest to a third party. Joint and survivorship ownership may be useful in certain situations. However, court proceedings may be necessary to transfer clear title to the assets and to determine Ohio estate taxes. Tax consequences can be detrimental to the beneficiaries if joint and survivorship is ued imprudently.  
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