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In recent years, the Probate and Mental Health Department of the Court
has made significant strides and
improvements in its quality, efficiency and monitoring capabilities to better serve and protect people unable
to care for themselves, including the elderly, minors, mentally ill and wards of the court. Judges and
commissioners assigned to the Probate/Mental Health Department oversee more than $300 million in
conservatorship assets each year. With the help of several probate registrars, these judicial officers are
also responsible for disposition of 8,000 new probate and mental health matters filed each year in Maricopa
At any given time, there are more than 25,000 pending probate cases of all kinds in the county. Although
the term "probate" refers only to establishment of the validity of a will, the judges and court commissioners
assigned to the Probate Court are responsible for a broad variety of matters in addition to decedents'
estates. Most of the new probate cases filed involve decedents' estates. But the vast majority are resolved
informally without the involvement of a judge or court commissioner. Only when there is a dispute does the
judicial officer have to become involved.
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