The Probate Court hears matters relating to Estates, Guardianships, and Name Changes.
Probate Court Forms are available on the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s website. Please Note: The use of these statewide forms is mandatory.
Probate Court Schedule
When is Probate Court usually held?
Probate Court is held on the first Tuesday (9:15 AM) and Third Tuesday (9:15 AM) of each month. To view the Town’s calendar schedule, click here.
Who is the Presiding Judge?
Probate Court Judge: Richard B. Abilheira
Probate Court Rules and Procedures
Pursuant to RIGL 33-22-29, the Probate Court of the Town of Bristol hereby establishes the following local administrative rules:
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.
Attorneys are requested to sign the docket in the Conference Room on the morning of court sessions; the Town Hall opens at 8:00 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.
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 been paid. Checks should be made payable to the Town of Bristol. *Please Note: Matters requiring advertising should be filed and the necessary fees paid not later than the previous Tuesday of the week of publication. A publication will be in the Thursday edition of the Bristol Phoenix 3 times prior to the hearing. All matters on waivers should be filed prior to the hearing date.
a. 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). Parties may, however, have court proceedings
transcribed by authorized court stenographers at their own expense.
b. The Probate Court shall upon written request, permit parties to produce written transcriptions from
electronic tape recordings. Copies of tapes will be made available for $35.00 per tape.
c. Electronic tape recordings of hearings will be kept in accordance with the records retention schedule
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).
All petitions for a minor child will be advertised prior to the hearing date.
Change of Name Request
A criminal record check through the Rhode Island Attorney General will be conducted for all persons 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, the process for changing a minor’s name is carried out through family court instead of probate court.
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).
Address: 10 Court Street, Bristol, RI 02809
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday | 8:00AM – 4:00PM
Phone: 401-253-7000 ext.121