The Georgia probate petitions which are available to you in order to open your loved one’s estate depend upon whether your loved one had a will or did not have a will. For that reason, I’ve divided this issue into three separate sections. You will find sections for petitions available with a will, petitions available without a will, and petitions available regardless of whether there is a will or not.
Probate Petitions Available With a Will
If the deceased did have a will there are three probate petitions that may be filed. All three of these probate petitions do have different purposes, but they share one main point. The probate court’s one question to answer is whether the document submitted by the petitioner is actually the last will and testament of the deceased. The burden of proof regarding the will is carried by the petitioner. The three probate petitions which are allowed to be filed only when there is a will are:
- Petition to Probate Will in Solemn Form
- Petition to Probate Will in Common Form
- Petition for Letters of Administration with the Will Annexed
Probate Petitions Available Without a Will
If the decedent did, in fact, not have a will then there are two probate petitions which may be filed. These petitions are also for instances when the will cannot be located or is declared invalid. For each of these petitions it is necessary that the heirs nominate someone to serve as administrator of the estate. An administrator is like an executor. However, an administrator’s powers may be limited. The probate petitions that may be filed without a will are:
- Petition for Letters of Administration
- Petition for Order Declaring No Administration Necessary
Probate Petitions Available With or Without a Will
There are two probate petitions that may be filed both if there is a will and if there is not a will. Each of these probate petitions has a specific purpose. They are, however, not necessarily useful in every case. These probate petitions are:
- Petition for Temporary Letters of Administration
- Petition for Year’s Support
The petition for temporary letters of administration provides a way for an heir to preserve the status quo by taking control of an estate right away. The petition for year’s allows a surviving minor child a surviving spouse of the deceased to obtain a share of the estate and obtain it before other interested parties.
It is important to make sure that you select the appropriate petition for the specific circumstances of the estate in question. I will cover each of these petitions in detail and individually later in this report series. In the next issue I will discuss the Petition to Probate Will in Solemn Form.
Need Some Advice?
If the deceased owned a business or had minor children who are under the age of 18 and are left without a surviving parent or guardian, the estate may require immediate attention. There may be other circumstances that, if left unattended, will cause significant harm.
If this is the case in your situation, you may need to obtain immediate control of the estate by filing an appropriate petition with the probate court. We’re here to help guide you through the process.
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