Probate of Wills
The will of a person who is domiciled in Putnam County at the time of death is probated here. Domicile refers to the permanent residence of a person. If the deceased person owned property to be transferred under the will then most likely the will needs to be probated. Most wills are probated in solemn form probate. Under solemn form probate notice is required to be given to the heirs of the deceased person. A deceased person's will should be filed in the probate court of the county of domicile even if it does not need to be probated. For general information about whether a will needs to be probated contact us. A will usually names an executor who is charged with the responsibility of carrying out the terms of the will. In order for an executor to be qualified to act on behalf of the estate the will must be probated.
To probate a will the standard form for probate is filed in the Probate Court along with the original will of the decedent. Once filed the probate court will issue any necessary notices, orders citations to ensure compliance with Georgia law. When notice and service is complete, the named executor is qualified by appearing before the Probate Judge and presenting the petition and taking the oath. Petitioners appear with their attorneys or are pro se (self represented). Standard forms are available in the Probate court and also at www.gaprobate.gov.
When a deceased person has no will and there are estate issues to be handled an administration is often filed. In this case a Petition for Administration is filed in the probate court and the heirs are listed and notified. If you are unsure who the heirs are or how to determine this there is a form available to help you. Often an heir will sign the acknowledgement and consent to the petition for administration. If that is not the case the heir must be served with notice of the petition. Once the petition for administration is completed and filed the clerks and/or judge will ensure that proper notice is served on each heir. If there is an heir whose address is unknown the notice will be published in the newspaper designated as the legal county organ. Publication of the notice of administration may also be necessary in order to waive bond and grant powers. Bond and grant of powers issues are usually waived in wills by the testator. However Administrators must address both of these issues under Georgia law.
Every estate is different and the requirements vary depending on the issues to be resolved in each. Sometimes it is necessary to run notices in the newspaper giving notice of different issues. Proceedings such as a petition for year's support or a petition for temporary administration may be relevant. The Probate Judge and Clerks in the Probate Court are not allowed to give legal advice but we can provide general information and standard forms. Standard forms for all probate proceedings are available in the Probate Court of Putnam County. Standard forms can also be accessed at the web site of the Georgia Probate Court Online System at www.gaprobate.gov.