Georgia Probate Procedure
Some Georgia estates can be distributed without resorting to the entire probate process. For example, under Georgia's Year's Support laws, property is given to the surviving spouse and/or minor children to provide living costs while the rest of the estate is settled in probate. If the entirety of the estate provides less than the amount needed by these parties for a year, the probate process might be moot; however, wills that name beneficiaries other than the surviving spouse or children will automatically default to probate regardless of whether the estate lasts a year.
Decedents who left no will and no debts, but whose heirs have agreed on the distribution of all property, can fall under the No Administration law, which allows distribution of the estate without resorting to the formal Georgia probate process. Other property, such as less than $10,000 in deposits, unpaid wages, small tax refunds, and uncashed checks, also fall under the No Administration law.
If a decedent left a will behind and their estate is not valid for Year's Support or No Administration, the estate proceeds to the Georgia probate system. Possible methods of filing for probate include Common Form, which allows for quick property collection without the notification of heirs; and Solemn Form, which requires notice to all heirs and does not leave the executor liable. Decedents without wills require filing a petition for letters of administration. The use of an experienced Georgia probate attorney may be required for these more complex forms of Georgia probate.
For more information, check out our article on the Basics of Georgia Probate.