The two elected Probate Judges in Jefferson County are required to be licensed attorneys, and have what is referred to as equity jurisdiction.
The jurisdiction of Probate Courts is outlined in Section 12-31-1 Code of Alabama 1975. The two elected probate judges have court dockets in the morning and afternoon virtually every day of the week at either the Bessemer or Birmingham courthouse. The Deputy Probate Judge in Bessemer also has dockets at the Bessemer courthouse.
In our Birmingham and Bessemer courthouses, our judges hear cases involving wills and decedent estates, guardianships and conservatorships, adoptions, name changes, legitimations, trusts, the settlement of estates, summary distribution of small estates, condemnations and the various issues inside of the cases, such as the sale of real and personal property, will contests, exemptions, ascertainments, claims against estates, and other matters that come before the court in the form of motions and other pleadings. We also hear adult mental health cases each day. These hearings are conducted at seven hospitals in Jefferson County in an effort to be compassionate and understanding for those persons suffering from a serious mental illness and their families.
In 2012, the three judges conducted approximately 5000 hearings.
Approximately 60% of our cases involve aging issues, so Probate Court, more than any other court in the Judicial System is at the forefront of being directly impacted by an aging population. In fact, the demographics are staggering. In 2010, there were 40,000,000 Americans who were age 65 or over. In 2020, it is estimated there will be 55,000,000, and in 2030, the number is estimated to be 71,000,000.
Whether it is bringing families together through adoption or resolving a will contest, our judicial duties are broad and affect every segment of our community.
Jefferson County – e-Filing Judicial Pleadings
Jefferson County Probate Court is pleased to announce that we will commence electronic filing of certain judicial pleadings on October 1, 2019.
We are excited to roll this service out for those we serve in the legal community. Utilizing advances in the operations and technology of the Court, we will be the second county in Alabama to offer e-Filing.
Benchmark Web, a part of our Pioneer case management system, will provide attorneys the ability to electronically file certain new cases and file additional pleadings in already existing cases. Attorneys will be able to view their own cases and the images available.
To begin e-Filing, attorneys will request a log-in at http://benchmarkweb.jccal.org/web. Once the login is received, the attorney will be ready to e-File.
Payment for court costs will be made for initial filings with a Credit Card payment through the Benchmark Web system. This is the same system utilized now at the counters in Birmingham and Bessemer. Court costs on subsequent filings in existing cases will be handled at the next hearing or at the conclusion of the case.
Judge Alan L. King
Judge Sherri C. Friday
Deputy Judge Elizabeth North
Chief Clerk Pam Jones