There are a variety of procedures available in court in Georgia to deal with the disposition of the property of a dead resident, or the death of a non-resident who owns property.
These steps are referred to as probate. What can be done varies, depending on whether the deceased person left a will. When there is a will, several possibilities exist.
The first possibility is called Solemn Form Probate. This involves filing the original will with the court, providing notice of the court proceeding to all heirs who would ordinarily inherit from the decedent if there were no will, such as a spouse, children, etc. These individuals are given a deadline to object to the validity of the will. The court will determine the validity of will's creation by receiving evidence, such as a self-proving affidavit signed by the decedent and witnesses, testimony of the witnesses, or out of court sworn statements by witnesses.
A longer procedure is called Common Form Probate. This involves filing the will with the court without formal notice to heirs. The proper creation of the will must still be established, and the disposition of the property is not finalized for a four year period of time.
When the executor named by the deceased is not available or willing to serve, the heirs may submit the will to the court with a majority of them selecting an administrator to handle the estate. This is called Probate of Will in Solemn Form/Letters of Administration With Will Annexed.
Finally, if there is a will, but no existing property disposed of by the will, probate is not needed, but the will still must be filed with the court.
In our next post, we'll
Source: Online: http://www.gaprobate.org/loved_one.php; Judicial Branch of Georgia; Gives an overview of what to do when a loved one dies.