Opening an Estate in Probate in Georgia

A Probate court has the authority to authenticate a Will and empower an executor to perform their duties under the law. Despite the importance of Probate, it never automatically begins. In fact, only certain people have the ability to ask a Probate court to initiate proceedings. In addition, these parties must pick the proper Probate court to handle the case. People who have questions about opening an Estate in Probate in Georgia or the process in general should reach out to our well-practiced attorneys at Nelson Elder Care Law today.

Steps to Take Immediately After a Person’s Death

The death of a friend or a loved one is a difficult time for everybody. Even so, this is a critical time for evaluating the property rights of heirs and family members. The only way to ensure the proper allocation of Assets is to initiate proceedings in the proper Probate court.

Any party seeking to start Probate must include specific information with their application to the local court. Generally, this includes the original version of a Will and a copy of the death certificate. Our attorneys can assist with the acquisition of these documents.

Selecting the Correct Branch of the Probate Court

The next step involves submitting a formal petition for Probate to the court. However, this is only possible once you identify the correct branch of the court. The Probate court has branches throughout Georgia, but only one branch has the legal authority to open an Estate and hear a case.

According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 53-5-1, this is the court located in the county where the decedent was living prior to their death. Submitting an application to a different court could result in substantial delays that impact the ability of heirs to receive their property at the conclusion of Probate.

Submitting a Formal Request for Probate

Opening an Estate in Georgia requires the submission of a formal application to the Probate court, and only certain people have the power to do this under state law. Under O.C.G.A. § 53-5-2, a nominated executor in a decedent’s Will has the first opportunity to submit this document to the court. This document must include a copy of the original version of the Will and a copy of the death certificate.

It is only if a nominated executor fails to perform this step that other interested parties may come forward. These interested parties may include creditors to the decedent, heirs, and temporary executors with judicial permission.

Once a court receives a petition for Probate, it will work to authenticate the Will. If the Will contains the signature of the decedent and the signatures of two witnesses, the court will presume the document to be valid. Even so, other parties may allege the Will to be invalid and request that the court apply the Intestacy rules. Nelson Elder Care Law can provide guidance concerning the submission of a petition for Probate as well as identify any potential challenges that may arise.

Opening an Estate in Probate Requires Assistance from a Georgia Attorney

The outcome of Probate has a major influence on the property rights of others. It is essential to understand how Probate works and what to expect along the way.

Initiating Probate requires the action of specific parties, and only the branch of the Probate court where a decedent died has jurisdiction to hear the case. Our team at Nelson Elder Care Law can provide more information about opening an Estate in Probate in Georgia and assist you throughout the process. Call now.

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