Georgia Probate Questions and Answers

Georgia Probate Question:  What courts have jurisdiction over the probate of wills in Georgia?


Answer:  Probate courts have exclusive jurisdiction over the probate of wills in Georgia.


Georgia Probate Question:  Which probate court has jurisdiction over the probate of a person domiciled in Georgia?


Answer:  The probate court of the county in which the decedent was domiciled has jurisdiction over the probate estate.


Georgia Probate Question:  Are there special rules regarding jurisdiction if a person lived in a nursing facility at the time of his death?


Answer:  Yes.  The domicile of a testator who was in the care of a nursing home or similar facility at the time of his death is presumed to be the county in which the testator was domiciled immediately before entering the nursing home or similar facility.  The presumption may be rebutted by showing that the testator considered the county in which the facility is located to be the testator's domicile.  If the presumption is rebutted, the county in which the nursing home or similar facility is located is considered to be the testator's domicile.


Georgia Probate Question:  Who has the right to offer a will for probate in Georgia?


Answer:  If an executor is named in the will, the right to offer a will for probate shall beong to the person named as executor.  If the person named as executor in the will fails to offer the will for probate with reasonable promptness, or if no executor is named, any interested person may offer the will for probate.  The term "interested person" includes, but is not limited to, any legatee, devisee, creditor of the decedent, purchaser from an heir of the decedent, an administrator appointed for the decedent prior to the discovery of the will, and any individual making a claim under an earlier will.


Georgia Probate Question:  Are there time limits for offering a will for probate in Georgia?


Answer:  Yes.  For persons who died or die on or after January 1, 1998,  the following rules apply.  A will shall not be offered for probate following the expiration of five years from the latest date on which a petition is filed for (1) the appointment of a personal representive of the decedent's estate, or (2) an order that no administration is necessary on the decedent's estate.


Georgia Probate Question:  Does a person in possession of a decedent's will have any obligation to file the will with any court?


Answer:  Yes.  The Georgia Probate Code provides that a person having possession of a will must file it with reasonable promptness with the probate court of the county which has jurisdiction.


Georgia Probate Question:  What happens if a person refused to file a will with the probate court?


Answer:  The probate court may attach for contempt and fine and imprison a person who fails to deliver the will of a deceased testator to the probate court.


Georgia Probate Question:  Does proof of a codicil also proof a will?


Answer:   If a codicil republished the will (except for any modification or amendment in the codicil) and clearly identified the will that was republished, proof of the codicil is proof of the will.


Georgia Probate Question:  What is probate in common form?  


Answer:  Common form probate is the probate of a will without notice to anyone upon the testimony of one of the witnesses.  If the will is self-proved in accordance with Georgia probate law, there is no need for the testimony of a witness to the will.  Probate in common form becomes conclusive upon all parties in interest four years from the time of probate  However, minor heirs have an additional four years after they reach majority to require proof in solemn form and to interpose a caveat.  If set aside, probate of a will in common form does not protect the executor for any acts beyond the the duties to collect and preserve assets of the estate and paying the debts of the estate.  Probatre in common form might be appropriate as a temporary solution for dealing with assets of an estate that require immediate attention.  However, because of the time it takes for probate in common form to become conclusive and the limited protection provided to the executor,  probate in common form typically is not used.     




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