What Is a Letter of Testamentary?

Letters testamentary are an important document in a probate case. But, what is a letter of testamentary? And what does a letter of testamentary do? 

We’re going to answer those questions and more in this article.

My name is Erik Broel & I am the founder & CEO of Georgia Probate Law Group.

What is a letter of testamentary

At our firm we help families who have lost a loved one navigate the complex and confusing legal process so they can make sure the estate is handled properly and their loved one’s memory is honored.

Letters testamentary are a very important document in a probate case.

Despite the odd name, letters testamentary are actually a court order.  

This court order is what provides the executor with the power to take charge of and manage the estate. 

Prior to receiving Letters Testamentary from the probate court, the executor is powerless to act for the estate.

What is a letter of testamentary

How To Obtain Letters Testamentary

To obtain Letters Testamentary, the named executor will file the will and a petition to open the estate with the appropriate probate court. 

Assuming that the executor has provided all of the necessary documents and information (and assuming there are no objections), then the court will issue what is called an Appointing Order. 

This order instructs the Executor to come to the court to take their oath of office and, sometimes, to post a bond. 

The appointing order will also identify whether the executor will be required to file an inventory of the estate, and whether the executor has limited or expanded powers.

Once the Executor has complied with the appointing order, the probate court will issue Letters Testamentary.

Related Topic:  Inheritance Rights After Divorce

At that point that the executor is officially named the executor of the estate and can act for and make decisions for the estate.

Next Steps: 

Everything discussed in this article is for general information and is not legal advice.

If you are in a situation where you need help navigating the Georgia probate process, I recommend you reach out to our office at (770) 920-6030 to set up a consultation.


If you’re not quite ready for a consultation, be sure to download our Georgia Probate Handbook so you know how the estate is supposed to be handled.

What is a letter of testamentary