Georgia offers a probate shortcut for the estates of those who died without a will. If your loved one died without a will or other estate plan, you might be able to transfer your loved one's property using this simplified probate procedure. If so, you'll be able to save some of the time, money, and hassle associated with regular probate. Below, learn the rules for qualifying for this probate shortcut in Georgia.
Most states offer simplified probate procedures for small estates—meaning estates that are particularly small in size or are particularly simple. Georgia has one simplified probate process, called a "petition for order declaring no administration necessary." However, it's available only to estates where the deceased person didn't leave behind a will.
To use this simplified probate procedure, an executor files a written request with the local probate court asking to use the simplified procedure. The court may then authorize the executor to distribute the assets without having to jump through the hoops of regular probate, speeding up the probate process and making it less costly for the heirs.
To qualify, the estate must meet these requirements:
The Petition for Order Declaring No Administration Necessary must include the following information:
Each heir must sign the petition and have their signature notarized. If the deceased person owned real property, the court files a copy of the order in the county where real property is located to show that no administration was necessary. This copy is recorded in the deed records of the county and indexed by the deceased person's name, and serves as proof of the legal transfer of the real property from the deceased person to the heir.
For more information on probate in Georgia, also see the following Nolo articles:
Nolo also offers several resources and tools to help with Georgia probate. If you're an executor or personal representative of an estate and tasked with wrapping up a loved one's property, you can consult a probate attorney or the comprehensive book The Executor's Guide, by Mary Randolph (Nolo), for further help.
On the other hand, if you're interested in actively planning now to minimize probate costs for your loved ones after your death, consider these next steps: