Rules for the Probate of Wills in Georgia

By A.L. Kennedy

When a will is probated in Georgia, it goes to the probate court, which checks whether the will is valid and oversees the distribution of the deceased person's property according to the will. The executor of a Georgia will may work directly with the probate court to probate the will, or may hire an attorney at the estate's expense to help him probate the will.

Petition to Enter Safe Deposit Box

Before probate begins, any interested person may file a Petition to Enter Safe Deposit Box with the probate court if he believes the will is in the deceased person's safe deposit box. If the petition is granted, the bank may open the safe deposit box. The bank must file any will found in the box directly with the probate court and must give any insurance policies directly to the beneficiaries named in the policies. The person who filed the petition may receive any burial instructions or burial insurance found in the safe deposit box. Everything else stays in the safe deposit box until the Georgia probate court appoints an executor.

Form of Probate

The executor or person filing the will must choose between two forms of probate: the solemn form or the common form. Solemn form probate requires the executor to give notice to everyone who might have an interest in the will, and it becomes binding when the estate is closed. Common form probate does not require notice, but it also does not become binding up to four years after the executor is named. This gives interested parties a chance to contest the will.

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Petition for Year's Support

The surviving spouse or minor children of the deceased person may file a petition with the probate court to receive enough property from the estate to support themselves for one year. A surviving spouse and/or children may take priority over anyone having a claim to the disposed of property. Persons filing a Petition for Year's Support must give notice to all interested parties.

Appointing Executor and/or Guardian

A Georgia probate court may appoint an executor if there is no executor named in the will, or the executor named in the will cannot or will not serve, according to the Official Code of Georgia section 53-6-20. The court may also appoint a guardian for any of the deceased's minor children who have been left without a parent. The deceased person may have named a guardian in the will, or the court may choose a suitable guardian if there is no named guardian or the named guardian cannot or will not take the children.

Inventory

The executor of a will is required to make an inventory of the estate. The inventory should include all of the deceased person's property. It should be filed with the probate court, and a copy should be sent to every interested person, according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 53-7-30. The probate court may remove an executor who does not return a correct inventory.

Settling Claims and Debts and Distributing Property

Once the inventory is completed, the executor may move to the next step of the Georgia probate process, which is settling any claims against the estate, paying the debts of the estate and distributing the estate's remaining assets to the people listed in the will, according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 53-7-43. If the will does not distribute any assets, it does not have to be probated.

Discharging Executor's Duties

The executor must file a petition for discharge with the probate court once the estate's debts are paid and its assets are distributed. The probate court reviews the estate to ensure all loose ends are tied up, then discharges the executor from his duties and closes the estate, according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 53-7-50.

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How to Probate a Will in Georgia

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How to Probate a Will in Indiana

Probate is the process of determining whether a will is valid and, if it is, paying the deceased person's debts and distributing his or her assets as instructed in the will. In Indiana, a will must be probated in the county where the deceased person lived at the time of his or her death. If the deceased person did not live in Indiana, the will may be probated in the Indiana county where the deceased person had property.

Rights & Responsibilities of the Surviving Spouse in Georgia

When a person dies, her surviving spouse may be responsible for the probate of the decedent's estate if she named him executor in her will. If she died without a will, a Georgia court must appoint an administrator for probate, often the decedent's surviving spouse. Regardless of the surviving spouse's responsibilities, he has certain rights to the decedent's estate under Georgia law.

Death Without a Will in Michigan

Under Michigan law, when a person dies without a will, it is said the person died intestate. The law has rules for what happens to a person's property when a person dies without a will. These rules are necessary because there is no will to provide direction as to how the deceased wished to distribute his property. The probate court will distribute property that was not owned jointly, as well as property that did not have a named beneficiary, according to Michigan law.

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