A Neat Guide to the Probate Court Atlanta

 

Speak with a trusted Probate Court lawyer in Cherokee County, Georgia.

The Atlanta Probate Court

Serving the Atlanta area, Perigon Legal Services is your one-stop for all your probate court needs. We provide a variety of services to help you through the process as easily and efficiently as possible.

Author: Stan Faulkner, Founder, Perigon Legal Services, LLC

Mr. Faulkner is an experienced counselor and litigator with 15 years of experience, having held bar licenses in four states (Mo, Il, Ct and Ga). Stan Faulkner uses this experience and focuses his skills in the pursuit of assisting individuals in probate (trust and estate) matters, guardianships and conservatorships, estate planning, business disputes and contract disputes. Published on May 12, 2023.

Probate courts are specialized courts with limited but exclusive jurisdiction over the probate of wills and the administration of estates of deceased persons. Georgia’s probate courts appoint and oversee guardians and handle guardianship and conservatorship cases and disputes involving wills, trusts, and estates. They have their own set of rules and procedures for handling probate cases.

If you are dealing with a probate court issue, Perigon Legal Services have a dedicated probate division and can assist you with all your probate needs, providing a full range of probate court and estate planning services.

The Importance of Atlanta Probate Court

 

The probate court provides a forum for distributing deceased assets. It can resolve disputes and ensures the probate process is carried out correctly.

Its primary function is to oversee legal matters relating to the estate of a deceased person who lived within the county. Probate courts 0versee the probate process, including:

  • Appointing an executor or administrator for the estate
  • Identifying and gathering the deceased person’s assets
  • Paying off any debts or taxes owed
  • Distributing the remaining assets to the heirs or beneficiaries according to the terms of the deceased person’s will or state law

Overview of the Probate Court Process in Georgia

Navigating Atlanta’s probate court can seem daunting; however, understanding the process is the first step to managing it effectively. The probate process differs slightly depending on whether there is a will or not.

Initially, one must file a petition with the probate court following the death of an individual to begin the administration of their estate. A petition to open probate is typically filed by the executor or administrator of the estate. This initial filing will include a copy of the will, if there was one. According to Georgia probate laws, the will must be filed with the probate court within five years of the administrator’s appointment.

Next, an executor or personal representative is appointed. If the executor or administrator is not already designated by the will, the court will appoint one. They will be responsible for managing the probate process and the estate’s responsibilities. These duties include gathering assets, paying debts and taxes, and eventually distributing the remaining assets to the rightful heirs.

Heirs and creditors will be notified of the probate proceedings. If heirs and creditors agree to an estate distribution plan in the will, an uncontested probate process will be initiated to oversee the executor’s distribution of assets.

Next, the executor will identify all of the assets and liabilities of the estate.

The executor then pays all debts and taxes of the estate.

Whatever is left in the deceased estate will then be distributed according to the will or Georgia’s state laws.

Once the distribution is complete, the executor files with the probate court to close the estate.

However, if beneficiaries or creditors do not agree to an estate distribution plan in the will, that can result in disputes or complications during probate. In that case, it’s crucial to have knowledgeable legal representation to navigate the intricacies of probate law effectively.

Basic Probate Court Information

There are a few probate courts in Atlanta.

Fulton County Probate Court

The Fulton County Probate Court is at 136 Pryor Street SW, Suite C-230, Atlanta, GA 30303.

The court is open Monday through Friday, except for holidays, from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

Estate services are by appointment only except for ‘Walk-in Wednesdays’ between 8:30 AM and 4:00 PM on Wednesdays. No appointment is required to file in-person estate matters on Wednesdays during business hours.

The filing fees for probate court vary depending on the type of petition or application being filed. Check with the court for the current fee schedule.

Forms for various probate proceedings are available online or at the court and include the following:

  • Various petitions for probate.
  • Petitions for guardianship and conservatorship.
  • Applications for marriage licenses and firearm licenses.

Limited metered parking is available near the Fulton County courthouse. There are also several paid parking lots and garages in the surrounding area. For individuals with disabilities, there are wheelchair ramps, accessible parking spaces, and other accommodations as needed.

From June 6, 2022, Electronic filing for many estate petitions became available online. The following petitions can be filed electronically:

  • Administration petition
  • Order Declaring No Administration Necessary petition
  • Year’s Support petition
  • Common Form petition
  • Probate Will in Solemn Form

Language assistance is provided for individuals who need to be more fluent in English. Interpretation services can be arranged with advance notice.

The Fulton County probate court is presided over by probate court Judge Kenya M. Johnson. She is ably assisted by several clerical staff. Remember that state law prohibits staff from giving legal advice, quoting the law, or recommending specific ways to pursue legal action.

Dekalb County, GA, Probate Court

The Dekalb Probate Court is situated at the Dekalb County Courthouse at 556 N. McDonough Street, Decatur, Georgia.

Office hours are from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

The courtroom is closed for state and national holidays and may close for emergencies and bad weather conditions.

Dekalb County Probate Court handles the following matters:

  1. Probate administration of estates
  2. Will validation
  3. Involuntary mental health obligations
  4. Conservators and guardianship for minors or adults
  5. Marriage licenses
  6. Georgia firearms permit software

Cobb County Probate Court

The Cobb County Probate Court is situated at 32 Waddell Street, Marietta, GA, 30090, and contact numbers are (770) 528-1900 and (770) 528-1996 (Fax).

The court deals with the following cases:

  1. Will probates
  2. Executors and administrator appointments and removals
  3. Sale and disposition of real estate property
  4. Guardian appointments and removals for minors and adults
  5. Audit of yields of executors, administrators, and guardians
  6. Commitments of drug and alcohol abusers and the mentally ill
  7. Marriage license issuances and
  8. Issuance of weapons carry licenses

Operational hours are 8 to 5 on weekdays, excluding holidays and court closures.

How Perigon Legal Services Can Assist

Understanding the intricacies of proper estate planning can be challenging without the guidance of a skilled estate planning attorney.

Perigon Legal Services is a firm dedicated to helping individuals, families, and small businesses in Georgia. With our knowledge of legal principles and procedures, we are dedicated to providing our clients with excellent probate court services and legal advice.

Contact us today if you need access to probate records or representation in probate court.

Frequently Asked Probate Questions

 

How Much Does It Cost to Probate a Will in Georgia?

Accurate estimates are impossible as every probate case is different. Simple, uncontested probates differ widely from contested, complex cases. Your attorney will be able to give you a more accurate assessment once they are familiar with the facts of your case.

How Long Does the Probate Court Process in Georgia?

The length of time varies depending on several factors, including the complexity of the estate, the number of heirs, and whether or not there are any disputes.

Probate can generally take several months to several years, depending on the circumstance.

How Long Do You Have to File Probate After Death in Georgia?

Under Georgia law, the personal representative of an estate may file a petition for probate within a reasonable amount of time after the decedent’s death.

While there is no specific deadline for filing probate in Georgia, it is generally recommended that the petition be filed within two years of the decedent’s death.

What if There Is Disagreement About Probate?

Disagreement will result in what is called contested (as opposed to uncontested) probate. If you wish to know how to contest probate, we can advise you on whether you have sufficient grounds to contest.

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