Starting Probate in Georgia

Probate is a legal process that occurs after every person’s death in Georgia. The purpose of Probate is to ensure that the right parties receive their due share according to the terms of a person’s Will or the application of the state’s Intestacy laws.

Despite its importance, Probate never automatically starts. Probate courts only begin the process once they receive a valid application from a party with the authority to file this petition. In addition, there are other rules, such as time limits, that control when a court may initiate a case. Consulting with an experienced attorney at Nelson Elder Care Law could help you with starting Probate in Georgia if you were nominated as an executor in your loved one’s Will.

When to Initiate Probate in Georgia

Probate can begin almost immediately after your loved one’s death. The only potentially limiting factor in this decision is your ability to submit an application to obtain all necessary paperwork and information. Our lawyers can assist you in the gathering and organization of this data.

While Probate may start quickly after your loved one’s death, there is a maximum time limit after their passing for you to come forward. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 53-5-3 states that courts will only open a Probate case if it receives an application within five years of the death. If you have questions about this time limit, you should speak with our team at Nelson Elder Care Law.

Who Can Ask a Court to Start Probate?

Not just any person can ask a Georgia court to initiate a Probate proceeding. The O.C.G.A. § 53-5-2 grants the executor nominated in a person’s Will the first opportunity to start Probate. This person or organization should immediately get to work filing the necessary paperwork with the court.

However, if an executor does not perform their duty, or if the Will does not nominate an executor, other parties obtain the legal authority to act. These may include named heirs in the Will or direct relatives of the deceased.

Information Needed for a Comprehensive Probate Application

A complete Probate application will contain many pieces of vital information. Most important is the inclusion of the original copy of your loved one’s Will.

Other notable pieces of information include:

  • A copy of the death certificate
  • Lists of known creditors and heirs
  • Data about the decedent’s known assets

Hiring a seasoned attorney to handle the case could help you to obtain this vital information.

Call Our Georgia Attorneys for Help Starting Probate

Starting Probate in Georgia is the first step towards ensuring your loved one’s final wishes are followed through. Probate never starts on its own, and only certain people have the right to petition a court to initiate proceedings. In addition, an application for Probate must include key pieces of evidence about the death, your loved one’s property, and their Will.

Working with Nelson Elder Care Law can help guide you through this process. We are prepared to address your concerns and obtain the paperwork needed to initiate Probate when you are ready to move forward. Reach out to us now to schedule an appointment.

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