“How long does probate take in Georgia?”
This is a common question we get asked every day at our office. On average, the time to settle an estate in Georgia is 12 to 18 months. This might surprise you. 12 to 18 months may seem like a long time.
That’s why I want to walk you through the three phases of settling an estate in Georgia and how long each phase typically takes.
Phase One: Appointment
In the appointment phase, our mission is to get someone appointed to represent the estate. This phase is going to take anywhere from six weeks to three months.
The largest factors that determine the time in the appointment phase are:
How quickly the family will return paperwork to our firm, and what county the estate is in and which court we use because different courts move at different speeds.
Phase Two: Administration
The administration phase is going to take a minimum of four months.
This phase has a lot going on. The administration phase is where we’re doing the work of settling the estate.
We’re identifying property, selling property, working with creditors, settling creditor claims, figuring out who gets distributions, making those distributions, and managing all of the affairs of the estate.
The minimum amount of time this phase can take is four months. The reason why is because of one of the responsibilities we have during that phase is publishing a notice in the newspaper. That notice has to run for four weeks.
After the notice runs, the estate has to be left open for an additional three months. Why?
Because that notice tells creditors if they have any kind of objection to make, now’s the time to make it. So we have to hold the estate open for three more months to allow those creditors to do that.
As you can imagine, depending on the size of the estate or the assets the estate has, it could take longer than four months.
For example, let’s say we have a house to sell in the estate, but it’s just the wrong time of the year to sell the house. We want to wait until the right time of the year to list it. Well, that would add to the amount of time that our administration phase takes.
Phase Three: Distribution and Discharge
Our final phase is distribution and discharge.
That’s where we close the estate.
This phase takes a month and a half to three months to complete, much like the first phase did.
And the reasons for that are similar:
How long does it take the family to return paperwork to our office? And then what court are we in and what speed does that court move at?
When you add all of these things up, you get to 12 to 18 months on average.
Summary: How Long Does Probate Take In Georgia?
Probate typically takes 12-18 months in Georgia depending on the size or assets of the estate.
It’s important to keep in mind the three phases of the probate process:
- Phase one: Appointment. Time: 1.5-3 months.
- Phase two: Administration. Time: At least 4 months.
- Phase three: Distribution and Discharge. Time: 1.5-3 months
If you would like help in your unique situation, please give our office a call at (770) 920-6030. We’d love to have a consultation with you.