Out-of-State Probate: What You Need To Know
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What Is Out-of-State Probate?
Do you need help navigating the out-of-state probate process in Georgia? Perigon Legal Services can help you. Call us today for more information.
Probate is the court-supervised estate administration process that is often required after a person’s death. During the process, the probate court would appoint a person as a personal representative to secure the deceased’s (formally called decedent) estate, pay off any debts and taxes, and distribute the remaining assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries.
Usually, the process takes place at a probate court where the decedent lived before death. However, a unique issue arises when the decedent owns property outside their state of residence. In such circumstances, the decedent’s estate may need to go through probate at least twice: in the state of residence and in any other state where they had out-of-state property. This secondary probate process is known as out-of-state probate.
The procedure for out-of-state probate varies with each state. If you’ve recently lost a loved one who had assets in Georgia but lived outside the state, there’s a good chance the deceased’s Georgia estate would need to go through out-of-state probate. In that case, it is important that you’re familiar with Georgia’s out-of-state Probate Laws.
If you live outside Georgia, navigating the process from where you live could be difficult due to logistics reasons and because the laws in Georgia likely work differently than what you may be used to. In the circumstances, you may need to retain the services of a Probate Lawyer in Atlanta who can represent you throughout the process. That way, you only need to show up when it is absolutely necessary.
But in the meantime, we explain how the out-of-state probate process in Georgia works so you’ll know what to expect during the proceedings.
How Probate in Georgia Works
When Is Out-of-State Probate Required in Georgia?
Out-of-state probate in Georgia is relevant to instances in which the decedent owned assets such as real estate in Georgia, was domiciled or had their permanent residence outside Georgia and had either a valid;
Foreign will, made in their place of domicile outside the U.S.
Out-of-state will, that was made in a different U.S. state.
The essence of the out-of-state probate process is to allow the assets under such wills to be managed and distributed legally in the absence of the original owner.
Ancillary probate is the process by which a previously probated foreign or out-of-state will may be admitted to probate in solemn form only.
To begin the ancillary probate process, you’ll need to submit a certified copy of the will, the Probate Records from the original probate proceedings, and the official probate forms.
However, to prevent multiple probate actions over the same estate, the law provides that ancillary probate will not be granted if a prior probate petition had been filed within the state and an objection was filed against the earlier petition.
Unlike a will admitted to original out-of-state probate, a will admitted to ancillary probate is still treated as a foreign or out-of-state will. Even though it is enforceable within Georgia, the validity and terms of the will are still governed by the laws of the place where it was made. So, if there is any question about how the will should be interpreted or its validity, Georgia law will not apply.
Can You Avoid Out-of-State Probate in Georgia?
Generally, those who wish to avoid probate on behalf of their beneficiaries must take the appropriate steps and execute certain estate planning documents, such as trusts, before they pass on.
However, even after a person’s death, it may be possible to avoid the out-of-state probate process over a decedent’s estate in Georgia if ;
- The will has been admitted to probate in its originating jurisdiction (where it was made).
- No petition for ancillary probate has been granted or is pending within the state.
- A qualified personal representative has been appointed and is serving under the laws of the place where the testator (maker of the will ) was domiciled
- The personal representative is a U. S. Citizen.
In such cases, Georgia law allows the personal representative to administer and manage the assets within the state without ancillary probate.
However, if anyone files a probate petition requesting ancillary probate over the decedent’s will, the personal representative’s powers would be suspended. They would no longer be able to act unless the court affirms their appointment.
Get Help Navigating Georgia’s Out-of-State Probate Process at Perigon Legal Services
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