Most people do not have to deal with the probate court very often in their lifetime. For many, the only time their business is in front of this court is after their death.
However, if you are handling a loved one’s estate, you should understand how probate court in Georgia works. Knowing the ins and outs of the process can enable you to better see why there may be delays or what you should do to facilitate the process.
The job of the court
The ultimate goal and what the court’s duties lead up to is finalizing the estate of the deceased person. Finalizing means ensuring the payoff of all debts and the disbursement of all assets. The court does this with the help of the person representing the estate.
Through order and hearings, the probate court is able to work through any issues that arise, including objections or contests of the will.
The probate court does not just handle estate matters. It is important to note this court also will take care of guardianship matters, oaths of office, marriage licenses, gun licenses, election oversight, game and fish matters and the occasional criminal matter. It is a busy place, which can slow down estate matters.
The leader of the court
The judge who presides over the court is an elected official. The terms run for four years, which means every four years, there is a chance the court will have a new judge. This could impact ongoing matters and lead to delays as the new judge familiarizes him or herself with the cases.
Probate courts handle a lot of duties. The judge may change from time to time. Because of the busy nature, you should be aware that there could be delays in your case or the matter could take longer than you thought due to outside influences.