Probate Court

Hearing Meetings
  • 9:15 a.m.
  • 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month
  • Town Hall Conference Room
    10 Court Street
    Bristol, RI 02809
Probate forms are available on the Secretary of State website.

Rules of Practice & Procedure
Pursuant to RIGL 33-22-29, the Probate Court of the Town of Bristol hereby establishes the following local administrative rules:
  • Court Sessions: Sessions will normally convene at 9:15 a.m. on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month unless that day is a legal holiday. Court sessions are held in the Conference Room, 10 Court Street. The court reserves the right to meet on a different day as necessary.
  • Court Calendar: Attorneys are requested to sign the docket in the Conference Room on the morning of court sessions; the Town Hall opens at 8:30 a.m. Cases are heard in sign-in order (first come, first served) with the exception of contested matters which are heard at the end of the session.
  • Contested Matters: Special sessions of the Probate Court will be scheduled as reasonably necessary to hear contested matters which cannot be heard during regular court sessions by the Probate Judge. There will be no additional fee for special sessions. (33-22-30).
  • Filing Fees / Deadline: No matter will be heard unless and until all fees currently due have be paid. Checks should be made payable to the Town of Bristol.
    • Matters requiring advertising should be filed and the necessary fees paid not later than the previous Tuesday of the week of publication. Publication will be in the Thursday edition of the Bristol Phoenix 3 times prior to the hearing. All matters on waiver should be filed prior to the hearing date.
  • Electronic Recordings
    • Electronic recordings of any court proceedings will be made by the Court at the request of the Probate Judge or any party thereto by electronic tape recording (33-22-19.1). However, parties may have court proceedings transcribed by authorized court stenographers at their own expense.
    • Electronic tape recordings of hearings will be kept in accordance with the records retention schedule.
  • Court Sessions: Every decision of the Probate Court shall be reduced to written order or decree presented at the time of the hearing or by the prevailing party within a reasonable time thereafter. (33-22-31).
  • Notice to Creditors: No First and Final Accounting and no Affidavit of Completed Administration will be accepted by the Probate Court without an affidavit by the fiduciary certifying that notice has been given to all known and easily ascertainable to creditors (33-11-5.1).
  • Guardianship: All petitions for a minor child will be advertised prior to the hearing date.
  • Forms: Use of state wide forms is mandatory.
  • Change of Name
    • A criminal record check through the Rhode Island Attorney General  will be conducted for all persons (with the exception of minors) petitioning for a change of name. If there is a criminal record, the Probate Judge will exercise his discretion as to the name change on a case by case basis.
    • In the case of a minor child, all petitions for a change of name will be advertised prior to the hearing date. It is also required that both parents sign the petition. In such cases where the whereabouts of 1 parent is unknown, the court requires that certified mail with notice of the hearing be sent to the last known address with a receipt filed with the court.
  • Probate Judge: Pursuant to Section 15-1-2 Acting Judge of Probate, of the Charter of the Town of Bristol, whenever the Judge of Probate Court is a party or interested in any proceeding about to be heard in court, or is absent or unable to perform the duties, or there is a vacancy in such office, duties shall be temporarily performed by the Town Solicitor. The fact of any such interest, absence, inability, or vacancy shall be recorded in the records of the court.